complications with broken tibia

Of all the long bones of the body, the tibia is the one that most frequently will not unite the two broken ends with normal healing, in spite of the best treatment techniques. This often results in prolonged hospitalization. Dangerous conditions associated with tibial fractures include a missed torn artery, increased pressure in the tightly-restrictive compartments of the lower leg (compartment syndrome), and injury to the peroneal nerve, which leads to a foot drop, or inability to lift the toes of the foot, while walking. This creates a very abnormal slapping gait. The pressure syndrome can lead to the severe restriction of oxygen to muscles and nerves below the fracture, and eventually gangrene, or even amputation or death. Infections that get into the tibia, especially from open wounds over the fracture, can be extremely resistant to treatment. Motorcycle injuries can be particularly dirty ones, since the leg may be dragged under the motorcycle for some distance. Sometimes little fragments of fat in the soft tissues of the lower leg will get into the blood stream, causing occlusion of vessels. Fractures of the tibia are a virtual minefield of things that can go wrong. Casts that are applied may compromise circulation in the lower leg, and may compound the effects of the occasional compartment syndrome.

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~ by pcl4 on October 7, 2008.

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