Tibial Fracture, Adult

You 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.

TREATMENT

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).

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Apply ice to the injury for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 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.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • 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.