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Case Analysis Tibia Fibula Fracture Health And Social Care Essay

A 'boot top' fracture is an injury to the lower leg induced by high impact stress. They are generally associated with winter sports due to wearing securely secured boots that come up to the mid-shaft leg. Sarah's boot top fractured happened in exactly this way.

The tibia is the main, weight bearing bone of the low leg and when shattered, the fibula that runs alongside the tibia, is normally cracked as well because the drive of the break is transmitted along the interosseous membrane of the fibula. Fractures of the tibia can also involve the tibial plateau, tibial tubercle, tibial eminence, proximal tibia, tibial shaft, and tibial plafond.

The diagnosis of a tibia and fibula fracture is determined by clinical examination and imaging resources.

The clinical assessment includes questions such as what incidents were before the harm and symptoms that can be found to the patient. The medical doctor should initially verify the patient for oedema (swelling), ecchymosis (bruising), and the point of tenderness. Further analysis for an individual medical history and and any supplementary injuries or problems are also determined at the moment.

After a brief history and initial group of observations having been noted, the physician will inspect the accident more carefully. During further examination an examination will be made of the nerve and blood circulation by visually inspecting and palpating the extremities. The physician will make be aware of any heat range drops (due to a lack of blood to limb) or transformed or insufficient sensation which might point to further complications

Once the clinical evaluation is complete, X-Rays and sometimes CT scans of the leg, tibia and fibula and ankle joint are taken up to determine the precise location and severity of the fracture. Special types of procedures including temperature checks are used to assess blood supply to the damaged leg [this bit looks interesting, what's a temp test? or do you mean just palpating the leg for warm or cool to touch?].


A fracture to the tibia and fibula can cause multiple injury such as bone harm and soft injury. Some of the medical indications include pain on the weight bearing lower leg, bruising of the hurt area, tenderness round the knee and limited bending of the leg and/or ankle credited to bleeding within the joint, possible deformity round the knee, pale and/or cool foot due to poor blood supply and numbness or an unusual sensation surrounding the foot which indicates possible nerve injury or excessive swelling within the leg.


In the journal 'Tibial non-union: a review of current practice', Moulder et al. (2008) declare that the purpose of treatment is to achieve an operating limb and minimise physical, cultural and emotional morbidity.

Correct identification and management of injury like a tibia and fibula fracture is important to ensure that the limb working such as power, motion and balance is fully restored and also reduce the chance of arthritis. The very soft tissues surrounding the tibia and fibula such as epidermis, muscle, nerves, etc may also be injured during the impact. Due to the possibility of smooth tissue damage, an orthopaedic surgeon would also look for indications round the fracture and include this in the management strategies for the fracture. In order for adequate healing, both fracture and the encompassing soft tissue damage should be cared for at the same time, with or without surgery. Tindall, A. (2005) state governments that the trick to good treatment is to ensure the bone heals in the right position.

Emergency Care:

If there is an open up wound and your skin is busted there is fantastic matter that the fracture may come in contact with bacteria that may cause disease. In these circumstances, early medical procedures is required to cleanse the fracture surfaces and soft structure surrounding the problems for prevent infection.

Occasionally soft tissue swelling may be so severe so it inhibits blood supply to both leg and feet, a condition referred to as compartment syndrome. This problem requires crisis surgery called a fasciotomy, where vertical incisions are made to release your skin and muscle coverings. Once bloating has gone down and the tender tissues restore in days and nights or weeks to come, the incisions are closed down.

If a ensemble or splint isn't possible due to character of the accident, an 'external fixator' may be looked at where pins are inserted above and below the joint. The pins help to stabilise the knee joint and support the limb so that the soft cells have the chance to recover. Immediately after a major accident the injured skin area and soft tissuesare easily harmed by surgery and really should be treated with care.

Non-surgical Treatment:

In other instances unlike Sarah's, non-surgical treatment may be considered and in end result be very beneficial. Non-surgical treatment includes external devices such as braces and casts that restrict movement of the wounded lower leg and inhibit weight bearing. Over time of your energy, limited knee activity and weight bearing is accepted to encourage maximum recovery.

Surgical Treatment:

As proved in 'Organized review shows reduced risk of non-union after reamed nailing in patients with shut tibial shaft fractures' by Lam et al. (2010) "Tibial fractures are one of the most frequent trauma cases that want medical procedures to ensure reasonable recovery. " Several devices may be looked at if medical procedures is required. In Sarah's case, surgical treatment was required with the application of pins and an interior fixator was elected. This provides support before bone is strong enough to weight bear again. Furthermore, internal fixation enables individuals to return to full function quicker and reduces the probability of improper healing from happening.

Other varieties of interior fixation include rods and plates. A rod or plate may be used to stabilise an intact fracture of top of the one fourth of the tibia and fibula. A tibia fracture that doesn't extend in to the leg can be treated by the pole or a plate as shown in the diagram above to the right.

Plates are commonly used for fractures that do extend in to the knee joint including the one in the diagram to the right. The dish is anchored with screws to the exterior side of the bone which is also shown in the diagram. When the fracture does increase into the knee, the bone may depress and therefore lifting the bone tissue must reestablish joint function. Lifting the fragments creates a defect or gap which then needs to be filled so that the joint doesn't collapse. A bone graft is maximum however; man-made materials that promote bone therapeutic can even be used. Failing to lift the stressed out bone can lead to conditions such as arthritis and instability. For even more stabilisation of the fractured area, a dish with screws is applied.

For the treating an wide open fracture, in depth irrigation under pressure is required at first which is then accompanied by surgery of any inactive muscle that is adjoining the harm. Incisions are made longitudinally down the low calf and pins or rods are then located in the hollow centre of the bone that usually is made up of marrow. Incisions brought on by surgery may be finished with sutures and finally bone grafting may be completed either early on or late throughout the procedure. Once medical procedures is complete, medication such as analgesics for pain relief, antibiotics for an infection control and calcium supplements for bone conditioning can be designed to improve the healing process with minimal pain for the average person. Furthermore, for wide open fractures, a tetanus shot is preferred.

Alternatively, external fixation can be used such as casts and splints to support the bone from the outside of your body. This form is elected when the delicate tissue around the damage is so poor that the utilization of a plate or rod might threaten the harm further.

Recovery and Rehabilitation:

Shortly after treatment, be it operative or not, the restoration phase begins. It is imperative for the patient to check out all instructions of the cosmetic surgeon, including the amount of knee movements allowed, weight bearing referrals, the utilization of braces and other recommendations that receive in order to acquire full restoration of the bone and adjoining tissues. As the tibia is a weight bearing bone, long-term injuries commonly take place. These injuries such as permanent arthritis and loss of knee movement are important to prevent as they prove to be very unfavourable to the individual.

The length of rehabilitation will be determined by how severe the fracture is, the kind of fracture and the precise located area of the fracture evident by X-Rays and other scans and the way in which the fracture is stabilised either surgically or non-surgically and finally the length of immobilisation.

The overall goal of treatment is to decrease pain in the individual and to bring back full working of the limb, including full movement, proprioception (the ability to sense the position, location and orientation of the limb) and the durability and endurance of most adjacent joints. Furthermore, maintaining freedom in day-to-day activities is a high priority in order to stay encouraged and not become despondent doubtful of a recovery.

In conjunction with painkillers and other medications that promote right healing, heat and cold packages can be used to control the pain and oedema of the limb.

After surgical treatment Sarah will be unable to weight bear on the injured leg and will therefore have to utilize crutches or a steering wheel chair to get around to allow the healing process. After 6-8 weeks of non-weight bearing activities, the rehabilitation process will start. Sarah may progress to using one crutch which limits weight bearing to a minimal amount but at the same time helps the calf by setting it up used to a little bit of weight with the support when required. Once her lower leg gains strength, there is certainly nominal pain and both Sarah and the cosmetic surgeon are confident with the result of recovery she may then progress to no support by any means unless her pain earnings. If exterior fixation such as a cast, or internal fixation such as rods were used for support they may then be removed. Once it is removed the individual should immediately commence activities such as strength exercises, flexibility exercises and exercises specifically for proprioception recommended by a specialist in the field. Exercise consistency and intensity shouldn't be altered whatsoever until full function is achieved which is very important to ensure there is no overload until the bone has regained full durability. Complete recovery of the fracture site can take anywhere between 6 to 16 weeks whereas the power of the bone to support a heavy insert may take up to 12 months. The resumption of heavy work and activities should be guided by the treating physician.

The role of exercise in the management of the injury:

To ensure fitness and a wholesome lifestyle is taken care of, exercise is extremely important in the management of a tibia and fibula fracture. It might be recommended by any expert that starting to warm up extensively before undertaking any exercise is essential to ensure there is no further damage done to the current injury.

Although the accident is to the lower leg, it is rather important that Sarah preserves strength, overall flexibility and aerobic strength to other areas of her body during the rehabilitation phase. In order for full recovery as well as for Sarah to have the ability to squat in the foreseeable future, Sarah should also consider light stretching on a daily basis to ensure all the muscles necessary for helping the squatting action are ready and are at optimal span.

As stated in the case study, 23 time old Sarah can presently run, walk and climb stairs with no pain. However she cannot squat without pain in the lateral compartment of her leg and without rigidity and pain in her ankle. It would be encouraged that Sarah continues walking and jogging frequently and slowly includes small shallow squats amoungst her daily activity. It might be advised to ignore her boyfriend's advice of not squatting at all as squatting can be an essential part of her job if she becomes a paramedic and will have to be performed on a regular basis.

Using a resistance strap, Sarah can build-up her durability in her ankle joint and the surrounding muscles. She can do this by pulling her lower leg towards herself up against the amount of resistance of the music group. During her first couple of weeks of any exercise, including doing her squats, Sarah could wear a brace on her behalf ankle for extra support.

Beginner level aerobics may assist in the squatting action as the getting from bounces and small jumps will encourage muscles of the lower leg to activate and therefore improve which will further assist her squatting movement.

Any exercises recommended by her physio should be continuing along with some non-weight bearing activities such as swimming to encourage motion such as flexion and extension of the low leg. This can help to relieve strain on the bones but at the same time continues to develop muscular power. Furthermore, non-weight bearing activities such as going swimming and other activities such as aerobics can also benefit Sarah's aerobic fitness which could have reduced whilst she was in the recovery period.

Suggested FITNESS PLAN for Sarah:

The main aim for Sarah in her healing process is to ensure that her muscles and tissues that are encompassing the chance of the tibia heal effectively and in a timely manner. Together with that, it is important that the bone heals in the right positioning which minimises difficulties in the foreseeable future.

Sarah should be visiting a physiotherapist to assistance with the rehabilitation from her shattered tibia and fibula who'll treat her lower leg consequently with massages and help out with making an exercise plan for her to follow. Ideally Sarah should be browsing her physio frequently after 6 weeks of immobilisation for about a 6 week period to ensure maximum results. Furthermore, she shouldn't undergo any physical activity or weight bearing exercises until her physiotherapist approves it.

For every exercise that Sarah completes, she must remember to not overload as it may cause further harm. There are important principles that her physio will attend to which will be the depth (weight) of exercise, the volume (sets and repetitions) of exercise and the rate of recurrence (sessions per week) of exercise. If many of these principles are monitored effectively then Sarah won't overload and therefore shouldn't do any more harm to her harm.

Sarah's physio will recommend exercises such as gait training with appropriate devices to promote self-employed ambulation. It simple conditions, gait training is helping an injured person relearn how to walk safely and securely and efficiently. Sarah may progress from a non-weight bearing position such as crutches, up to little weight bearing position with one crutch and further onto no crutches unless she's experiencing pain or expecting to do a whole lot of walking.

A treatment specialist will evaluate Sarah's abnormalities in her gait and utilize such treatments such as strengthening and balance training to boost her stableness and body perception because they are important in her lifestyle. To be able to walk again without assistance, Sarah will need adequate feeling in her lower lower leg, musculoskeletal functioning and electric motor control along with mental assistance.

Hydrotherapy is good for rehabilitation as it stimulates movement of the lower leg which can only help to gain strength without placing weight onto it.

Once Sarah increases little durability in her lower knee and the pain has almost eliminated, she should move onto doing light exercises such as quick walking, leg lifts and leg raises. This will help to improve all the muscles in power and stamina that deteriorated following the injury.

After a period, Sarah can walk around quite easily on her lower leg without any pain and with good stability which means her muscles will work correctly and also have gained enough strength to carry her own body weight.

As Sarah is studying to be always a paramedic, she'll have to be able to squat free from pain to aid in lifting the stretcher with a patient on it. At the present time Sarah cannot squat without experiencing an aching pain in her lateral knee and tightness and pain in her ankle therefore lifting a stretcher with the added weight of an individual on it will end up being very hard for Sarah. Although Sarah's sweetheart recommended that she should never squat again, this might imply that Sarah can't be a paramedic as she'd not pass the test required to get into the job. Therefore once Sarah experts the walking without pain, her physio should incorporate exercises to boost her squatting approach, despite what her sweetheart recommended.

Sarah should get started using a physio ball that will assist her primary strength and stability which might have began to diminish over the course of her 6 week restoration period. Sarah will be able to do a selection of exercises on the physio ball that don't interfere with the treatment of her lower calf such as sit ups, bridges and oblique stretches, etc. Maintaining her core power and stability is extremely important to ensure she doesn't do harm to her back or other parts of her body once she profits to her normal way of life.

It is preferred that Sarah commences by doing some easy flexibility stretches that concentrate around the lower leg including the seated calf stretch out. This requires Sarah to sit on the floor with her legs straight out, utilizing a towel put around the bottom of her ft which is taken towards her body in a flexing movement. This stretch out is held for 10 seconds, released and then repeated. Sarah could also do some ranking calf exercises, performed ranking, facing a wall structure with her practical the wall. Sarah will place her hurt leg back with her foot flat on to the floor and her uninjured leg forward with her knee slightly bend. She then must lean in into the wall stretches her leg muscle. Again carry for 10 seconds, release and duplicate. Sarah can also integrate some heal and bottom increases, plantar-flexion and dorsi-flexion exercises using a pulley, inversion (inward and upward from body) and eversion (outward and downward from body) exercises again by using a pulley, which all promote ankle joint flexibility.

Step ups and downs are also suggested for preliminary lower leg durability and then further down the keep tabs on it is suggested that Sarah begins doing some lunges that will aid in quadriceps conditioning. Hamstring exercises are also beneficial as soon as they are all accomplished without pain, she can move onto some shallow squats.

Sarah may prefer to use a couch or similar object for support on her behalf first few shallow squats to ensure she doesn't collapse from pain or muscle weakness so when she is comfortable enough, she should do them with out a chair to ensure maximum results are achieved. Her physio should also increase her repetitions each week before progressing to another exercise.

Once Sarah accomplishes shallow squats without the pain at all, she should move onto some deeper squats or 1 legged squats that will really test her muscular power and strength, again using a couch for support if required. Repetitions should again be increased every week for maximal results before progressing to some other exercise.

Finally after the deep squats are attainable for Sarah, she should start doing weighted squats as they'll correspond nearer with squatting with the weight of the stretcher and squats on a wobble board that will assist in balance techniques. First this may prove to be quite difficult for Sarah because of the injury she sustained, but once they are achieved Sarah is well and truly on her behalf way to moving the physical test required by Ambulance Victoria to become paramedic without the compromise. Rather than always increasing the quantity of repetitions Sarah performs, for this exercise she can also increase the amount of weight she is using.

Gym work is necessary for full lower leg conditioning and endurance and is preferred once the damaged area has completely recovered.

It is important that Sarah applies to brisk walks or will some laps at a pool while she actually is rehabilitating her calf to ensure her aerobic strength doesn't diminish while she is concentrating on the recovery of her fractured lower lower leg. Furthermore, upper body strength will become quite poor if she forgets to work on that as well. Regular drive ups, or weight exercises are suggested and can be commenced early on after the harm. It is ideal to start exercises such as dumbbell curls while she is immobilised, as it generally does not affect the low leg at all and can prevent loss of upper body power while she actually is unable to do each day activities.

Whilst undertaking each one of these exercises, it is perfect for Sarah to consider calcium supplements that will her bones to improve and ensure she is drinking plenty of normal water for hydration purposes.

Prognosis and Outcome:

A fracture of the tibia is quite serious as it is poor to mend and sometimes doesn't recover correctly due to limited blood circulation in some regions of the bone. In the event the fracture is left untreated it can lead to long term arthritis and other issues further down the trail. There would be intense amounts of pain in the calf and any physical exercise would be practically impossible generally.

In general, the likelihood of perfect and complete healing of your easy tibial or fibular fracture is good. Nevertheless the effect or prognosis depends upon the location, severeness of the fracture, and level of soft tissue damage, along with the existence of any underlying complications. As mentioned by Babis, et al. (2009) in 'Distal tibial fractures treated with hybrid exterior fixation', age does not have any significant impact on the quality or time considered for the curing of the tibia and fibula fracture and causes no further problems down the monitor.

The prognosis of an isolated fibula fracture is good as it is a non-weight bearing bone and has little complication. In contrast, the tibia that works alongside the fibula is the most common fracture in the torso to stay unhealed due to it being a major weight bearing bone.


Infection is the biggest danger with a tibial fracture. It is most usual after high speed, open accidents with skin area necrosis, similar to that of Sarah's fracture after her winter sports mishap. However if appropriate treatment is given regularly, then the threat of illness is minimised. Together with disease of the bone, joint tightness and damage or knee action can also occur.

Furthermore, delayed treatment or misalignment of the bone tissue and leg shortening may appear regarding a serious fracture in case the ankle joint or knee joints are participating then severe arthritis might occur.

Other complications include complex local pain syndrome, excess fat embolism and area syndrome which can be an injury to the normal or deep nerves about the affected area which might result in foot drop and injuries to the popliteal artery.

In the most severe case scenario, if there is severe soft tissue damage, neurovascular bargain, popliteal artery injury, compartment syndrome or infections of the smooth tissues such as gangrene in the leg then amputation may be necessary.

Return to work limitations:

After a fracture to the tibia, extended status and walking will be temporarily limited and the average person will struggle to engage in exercise that requires knee strength and motion.

Furthermore, if the right leg is injured then the specific will be restricted and unable to drive until lower knee strength is improved and the control of the low quads is regained. This can limit the individual's ways in which to travel to work.

The injured lower leg needs to be enhanced to improve the reduced amount of swelling and blood vessels pooling and sometimes this isn't possible in the task place.

Finally, the individual may be taking pain killers with sedating qualities that may have an impact on dexterity, alertness and cognitive function all where will cause poor performance at work.

Failure to recover:

If the individual fails to restore in the maximum amount of time then questions are asked to ascertain why this is actually the circumstance. Additional assessments must see where there can be changes or advancements to ensure sufficient recovery in the foreseeable future.

If Sarah cooperates and practices her surgeon and physiotherapist's instructions such as no weight bearing activities for 6 weeks and completes her exercises properly then the probability of a full restoration from her fracture is encouraging.

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