Tibia Shaft Fractures: Types, Causes & Symptoms

The tibia, or shinbone, is the most frequently fractured long bone in the body. A tibial shaft fracture occurs along the bone length, below the knee and above the ankle. The doctors treat fractures with the help of orthopedic tools that can be accessible from orthopedic instrument supplier.

It typically takes a major force to cause this kind of broken leg. For example, motor vehicle collisions are a common cause of tibial shaft fractures. In many tibia fractures, the smaller bone in the lower leg or fibula is broken as well.


The lower leg is made up of two bones: the fibula and tibia. The tibia is the larger of the two bones. It supports most of the body weight and is an important part of both the knee joint and ankle joint.

Types of Tibial Shaft Fractures

Tibia fractures greatly differ, depending on the force that causes the break. The pieces of bone may line up correctly (stable fracture) or be out of alignment (displaced fracture). The skin around the fracture may be intact (closed fracture) or the bone may puncture your skin (open fracture). In several tibia fractures, the fibula is broken as well.

Doctors explain fractures to each other using classification systems. Tibia fractures are categorized depending on:

  • The location of the fracture (the tibial shaft is classified into thirds: distal, proximal, and middle)
  • The pattern of the fracture (for example, the bone can break in different directions, such as lengthwise, crosswise, or in the middle)
  • Whether the muscle and skin over the bone is torn by the injury (open fracture)

The most common types of tibial shaft fractures are:

Transverse fracture: In this kind of fracture, the break is a straight horizontal line going across the tibial shaft.

Oblique fracture: This kind of fracture has an angled line across the shaft.

Spiral fracture: The fracture line encircles the shaft like the stripes on a candy cane. This kind of fracture is caused by a twisting force.

Comminuted fracture: The bone breaks in three or more pieces in this type of fracture.

Open fracture: If a bone breaks in such a way that bone fragments stick out through the skin or wound penetrates down to the broken bone, the fracture is called a compound or open fracture. Open fractures often involve much more damage to the surrounding tendons, ligaments, and muscles. They have a higher risk for complications, especially infections- and take more time to heal.


Tibial shaft fractures are mostly caused by some type of high-energy collision, such as a motorcycle or motor vehicle crash. In cases like these, the bone can be broken into many pieces (comminuted fracture) which can be joined with the help of orthopedic implants and surgical instruments. There are several exporters in the market who provide implants. Siiora.com is also one of such ortho manufacturers in India and we also provide other orthopedic implants.

Sports injuries, such as a fall while skiing or a collision with another player during soccer, are lower-energy injuries that can cause fractures in the tibial shaft. These fractures are typically caused by a twisting force and result in a spiral or oblique fracture.


A tibial shaft fracture generally causes immediate, severe pain. Other symptoms can be:

  • Incapability to walk or bear weight on the leg
  • Instability or deformity of the leg
  • Bone “tenting” over the skin of the fracture site or bone protruding through a break in the skin
  • Irregular loss of feeling in the foot.
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