A fracture or break of the lower leg, commonly referred to as the shinbone, is a tibia fracture. This type of lower leg break can occur in many different ways. Treatment of the fracture will vary depending on the location of the injury, alignment, amount of displacement, other associated injuries, the condition of the tissue around the fracture, and the patient’s overall general health.
Types of Tibia Fractures
There are three main types of tibial fractures: shaft fractures, plateau fractures, and plafond fractures.
- Tibial Shaft Fractures: The most common type of tibia fracture is a fracture to the shaft of the tibia. Although some badly displaced fractures require surgery with intramedullary rodding, an external fixator, or plates and screws, most tibial fractures can be treated with a long leg cast. The majority of tibia shaft fractures heal well.
- Tibial Plateau Fractures: Injuries to the tibia just below the knee joint are plateau fractures. The condition of the knee joint must be taken into consideration when treating plateau fractures. Surgery is only required if the tibia is displaced. Bumper fractures and Segond fractures are two common types of plateau fractures:
- Bumper Fracture: A bumper fracture is a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau that causes part of the lower femur and the upper part of the tibial to come into contact. It is named a bumper fracture because the injury is consistent to what would happen if the side of the knee is struck by a car bumper while the foot is firmly planted on the ground. Only 25% of tibial plateau fractures involve bumper fractures.
- Segond Fracture: A fracture commonly associated with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears and injuries to the medial meniscus, a segond fracture is a type of avulsion fracture that occurs when tiny bony bits of the tibia are torn away as a result of trauma.
- Tibial Plafond Fractures: Plafond fractures, also called tibial pilon fractures, occur where the end of the shinbone meets the ankle joint. The two main type of plafond fractures are Gosselin fractures and trimalleolar fractures:
Gosselin Fracture: A V-shaped fracture of the distal tibia extending into the ankle joint is a Gosselin fracture. Because the ankle joint has little surrounding muscle and skin, swelling of soft tissue may delay surgery.
Trimalleolar Fractures: A fracture of the posterolateral corner of the tibial plafond, the lateral malleolus, and the medial malleolus is a trimalleolar fracture. Trimalleolar ankle fractures are common in slip and fall accidents.
Leg Fracture Symptoms
Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect a broken leg or fractured tibia. Prompt medical treatment, and keeping weight off the leg can speed healing time and reduce the risk of complications, which include prolonged pain, infection, arthritis, nerve damage and blood vessel damage. Some of the common symptoms of a tibia fracture are:
- Severe pain
- Inability to walk or put pressure on the leg or foot.
If you or someone you care about has broken a tibia in an accident, contact an experienced and competent California injury attorney. The law firm of Estey & Bomberger offers a free and confidential consultation to review your case and explain your legal options. To speak with an attorney about your case, call (800) 925-0723.