(Broken Shin; Lower Leg Break; Tibia Fracture)
A shinbone fracture is a break in the shin bone, which is the larger bone of lower leg.
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A shinbone fracture may be caused by trauma from:
- A direct blow to the leg
- A motor vehicle accident
- A gunshot wound
Things that may raise the risk of a shinbone fracture are:
- Playing some sports, such as soccer, skiing, gymnastics, or dance
- Having a health problem that may result in falls, such as weak muscles
Shinbone fracture may cause:
- Leg pain that is worse with motion
- Bruising and swelling
- Problems walking and putting weight on the leg
- A change in the way the leg looks
The doctor will ask about symptoms, past health, and how the injury happened.
Pictures of the leg will be taken to confirm a break and see how severe it is. This can be done with:
It can take 4 to 6 months to heal. The goal of treatment is to help the bones heal properly to prevent long term problems.
Most fractures are due to accidents. Keeping bones and muscles strong may help. This may be done through diet and exercise.
Putting Bones Back in Place
Some fractures may cause pieces of bone to come apart. The pieces of bone will need to be put back into place so it will heal properly. The doctor may do this through either of the following:
- Carefully moving the bones and using tension to align them. Anesthesia will be given help to manage pain.
- Surgery to reconnect bone sections with pins, screws, plates, or a rod. These devices will also hold the bone in place as it heals.
- Fractures of the proximal tibia (shinbone). Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/fractures-of-the-proximal-tibia-shinbone.
- Bone health and osteoporosis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/bone-health-and-osteoporosis.
- Tibia shaft fracture—emregency management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/tibia-shaft-fracture-emergency-management.
- Tibia (shinbone) shaft fractures. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/tibia-shinbone-shaft-fractures.
- Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT
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