Usually referred to as the shin bone, the tibia is the major bone of the lower leg. Fractures of the tibia can happen from a variety of injuries and can come in different shapes and sizes. Treatment varies depending on the location of the fracture, the displacement of the fracture, the alignment of the fracture, and any injuries associated with it. An individual can experience a cracked tibia through a low-energy incident, such as a fall, or through a high-energy incident, such as a sporting injury, a car accident, or any other type of rigorous activity.
I am no stranger to this type of fracture. I sustained a fracture of my right tibia a few years ago when I was actively engaged in the sport of kick boxing. I also had a ripped meniscus associated with this injury. Due to my commitment to and love of the sport, I refused to stop practicing; enduring through the pain (and misery) until one day I could not take it anymore. Needless to say, upon examination by a surgeon, my kick boxing days came to an abrupt halt and I endured some surgery to correct the situation.
Tibia fractures can be separated into three categories, depending upon the location of the fracture:
1.) Tibial Shaft Fracture – The most common type of tibial fracture, these occur in the area between the knee and the ankle joints. These can usually be treated with a long leg cast. Those fractures that have significant displacement may require surgery to secure and realign the bones.
2.) Tibial Plateau Fracture – These happen just below the knee joint. Fractures of this nature require that the knee joint and its cartilage surface be taken into consideration. With this type of tibial fracture, there is the added risk of developing arthritis in the knee.
3.) Tibial Plafond Fracture – These occur a the bottom of the shin bone near the ankle joint. Because of the ankle cartilage surface, this type of fracture also requires special consideration. This type of fracture can also contribute to damage in the surrounding soft tissue areas.
Symptoms of a cracked tibia include pain upon bearing weight on the affected extremity.