Shinbone Fracture

(Broken Shin; Lower Leg Break; Tibia Fracture)

Definition

A shinbone fracture is a break in the tibia. The tibia is the larger of 2 bones in the lower leg that connects the knee to the ankle. It runs on the inside of the lower leg. The fibula is much smaller and runs along the outside of the lower leg.
Fractured Leg
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Causes

A shinbone fracture is caused by trauma to the shinbone. Trauma includes:
  • Falls
  • Twists
  • Blows
  • Collisions
  • Gunshot wounds

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of a shinbone fracture include:
  • Advancing age
  • Osteoporosis
  • Certain diseases or conditions that result in bone or mineral loss, such as abnormal or absent menstrual cycles
  • Having gone through menopause
  • Certain diseases and conditions that weaken bones, such as tumors or cysts
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Playing certain sports that may result in:
    • Spiral fractures—associated with collisions or falls from sports such as soccer or skiing
    • Stress fractures—associated with overuse or repetitive motion from sports such as gymnastics or dance
  • Violence, such as car or car-pedestrian accidents

Symptoms

Shinbone fracture may cause:
  • Pain that ranges from mild to severe, but worsens with activity
  • Swelling, inflammation, and tenderness
  • Bruising in the injured area
  • Decreased range of motion of the knee or ankle
  • Limping
  • Inability to bear weight on the fractured leg

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