Tibial Fracture, Adult

ExitCare ImageYou have a fracture (break in bone) of your tibia. This is the large "shin" bone in your lower leg. These fractures are easily diagnosed with x-rays.


You have a simple fracture which usually will heal without disability. It can be treated with simple immobilization. This means the bone can be held with a cast or splint in a favorable position until your caregiver feels it is stable (healed well enough). Then you can begin range of motion exercises to keep your knee and ankle limber (moving well).


  • Apply ice to the injury for 15-20 minutes, 03-04 times per day while awake, for 2 days. Put the ice in a plastic bag and place a thin towel between the bag of ice and your cast.

  • If you have a plaster or fiberglass cast:

  • Do not try to scratch the skin under the cast using sharp or pointed objects.

  • Check the skin around the cast every day. You may put lotion on any red or sore areas.

  • Keep your cast dry and clean.

  • If you have a plaster splint:

  • Wear the splint as directed.

  • You may loosen the elastic around the splint if your toes become numb, tingle, or turn cold or blue.

  • Do not put pressure on any part of your cast or splint until it is fully hardened.

  • Your cast or splint can be protected during bathing with a plastic bag. Do not lower the cast or splint into water.

  • Use crutches as directed.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • See your caregiver as directed. It is very important to keep all follow-up referrals and appointments in order to avoid any long-term problems with your leg and ankle including chronic pain, inability to move the ankle normally, failure of the fracture to heal and permanent disability.


  • Pain is becoming worse rather than better, or if pain is uncontrolled with medications.

  • You have increased swelling, pain, or redness in the foot.

  • You begin to lose feeling in your foot or toes.

  • You develop a cold or blue foot or toes on the injured side.

  • You develop severe pain in your injured leg, especially if it is increased with movement of your toes.