What is tibia and fibula fracture?

Updated: Nov 30, 2017
  • Author: Jeffrey G Norvell, MD, MBA, RDMS; Chief Editor: Trevor John Mills, MD, MPH  more...
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Answer

Lower leg fractures include fractures of the tibia and fibula. Of these two bones, the tibia is the only weightbearing bone. Fractures of the tibia generally are associated with fibula fracture, because the force is transmitted along the interosseous membrane to the fibula. Causes include direct forces such as those caused by falls and motor vehicle accidents and indirect or rotational forces [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

The skin and subcutaneous tissue are very thin over the anterior and medial tibia, and as a result, a significant number of fractures to the lower leg are open fractures. Even in closed fractures, the thin, soft tissue can become compromised. In contrast, the fibula is well covered by soft tissue over most of its course with the exception of the lateral malleolus.

The tibia and fibula articulate at the proximal tibia-fibular syndesmosis. Fractures of the tibia can involve the tibial plateau, tibial tubercle, tibial eminence, proximal tibia, tibial shaft, and tibial plafond. The common peroneal nerve crosses the fibular neck. This nerve is susceptible to injury from a fibular neck fracture, the pressure of a splint, or during surgical repair. This can result in foot drop and sensation abnormalities.


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