Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tibia / Tibial Stress Fracture

A person with a tibial stress fracture has a thin crack in the shinbone, caused by overuse of the lower leg. Tibial stress fractures are most common in competitive runners and results from too much microscopic stress on a portion of a bone without enough time to heal. Tibial stress fractures are particularly dangerous due to the amount of weight this bone bears with each step.

Symptoms of a tibial stress fracture include leg pain, swelling and tenderness, located over the front of the tibia. The pain is worse while running, jumping, or climbing.

Symptoms to look out for when a tibial fracture is suspected:
  • Localized pain – the onset of the pain may be gradual and is commonly felt on the lower third part of the affected leg or on the shin. Pain is often sharp in nature and it typically increases with activity that involves impact. Instead of shin pain, patients may also complain of calf pain.
  • Tenderness – Patients may complain of pain when the affected area is palpated or pressed
  • Swelling – The area just above the fracture may swell and redden
  • Altered Gait – The patient may have a difficult time walking and they may have a difficult time putting weight on the affected leg.
Treatment for a tibial stress fracture may include rest, elevation, cold compresses, a cane or crutches, and a leg cast or splint. Additional treatment for a tibial stress fracture may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain and physical therapy. Most people with tibial stress fractures recover completely with treatment.

Three years back I had a similar post for "Cuboid Stress Fracture". Much to my amazement, that has become the top google query for these words and gets about 20 odd hits a day. A "Tibial Stress Fracture" is more common so I don't expect this post to get that kind of attention :p But yeah I have broken my Tibia.

The funny thing is that I have gotten so used to bad things happening these days that I smile when horrible things happen to me. I smiled when my doc told me that the MRI showed a break.

I was walking back from class with someone today. She asked me - "Are you limping?" Me - "Oh yeah. I broke my leg... Got hit by a car while running and stuff." She was like "What?". Me - "It's no big deal in the grand scheme of things. Kind of sucks that I can't run but whatever."

My manager was asking me about my running last week because he said that he knows how important to me. I was telling him about what a horrible period I'm going through now.

The interesting thing is that in the run where I broke this, I had a feeling of certainty that that felt like a break. I tried to run but could not run another step. Just could not.

I have not run for the last six weeks. Here's how they've progressed.

Week 1-2: Ibuprofen & PT making matters worse. Trying to see if I can get back to running. Sort of in denial since I knew something bad would show up if I went to a doc.

Week 3-4: In India. Amazing that I got through my dad's funeral with a broken leg. Not surprising that I could not walk a single step the next day. As a part of the mourning you're not allowed to wear shoes. So I made the break worse and suffered in pain for the next few days in slippers.

Week 5-6: Tried to take more care of the leg. X-rays showed nothing before the MRI caught this today.

I'm in a boot now for a month. Kind or relieved that I'm on the mend now :) Got to love life :)

"There is a new grade 4 stress fracture of the distal tibal shaft, positioned 6.2 cm proximal to the tibial plafond. The fracture consists of an obliquely oriented linear low signal fracture line, extensive marrow edema."


1. New grade 4 stress fracture of the distal tibial shaft, involving the posterior cortical surface, with overlying focal periosteal new bone formation and extensive periosteal thickening and edema.
2. Previous grade 3 stress fracture of the distal fibula has since resolved.
3. Severe synovitis of the tarsal sinus and canal, obscuring the subtalar ligaments. Bone marrow edema within the adjacent anterior talus and calcaneus may represent reactive osteitos in response to the subtalar synovitis, versus low-grade stress reaction without focal fracture"


Blogger PuddleThumper said...


11/07/2011 11:40 AM  
Blogger Sub said...

Would have loved to be able to run through the beautiful Fall weather we've been having but it's OK in the grand scheme of things :)

11/07/2011 2:15 PM  
Blogger gunwan said...

I believe my chiropractor worsened my stress fracture. I have a tibial stress fracture...causing pain I thought was my knee. The chiropractor said my leg was out of alignment, pulled my leg and whacked the sides of my knee to put things back. I told him this was hurting...but he didn't stop. The pain got worse, and I had an MRI from the sports doctor and found a severe stress fracture. No more chiropractor for me.

metatarsal stress fracture

1/04/2014 8:33 PM  
Blogger Sub said...

That sucks! No way to heal a sfx but staying off it. Wishing you a quick recovery!

1/04/2014 9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't the x-ray show a fibular fx?

12/03/2015 7:11 PM  
Blogger Sub said...

It likely won't in the early stages. Once it starts to heal (after 15 days or so) it may show up. MRI is usually definitive...

12/03/2015 9:40 PM  

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