Q:

How long does it take to heal a fractured tibia?

A:

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, or AAOS, a fractured tibia takes from four to six months to heal and sometimes longer. The healing time varies depending on the type and severity of the fracture. Longer healing times usually occur in patients with poor health or with open fractures, in which the fractured bone has protruded through the skin.

The AAOS lists several types of tibia fractures, categorized by the way the bone breaks. A transverse fracture has a horizontal fracture line. A displaced fracture has a gap between the broken ends which are also unaligned and require surgery to join. An oblique fracture has an angled pattern. If it is initially unstable or out of place, an oblique fracture sometimes becomes more out of place over time. In all cases, a stable fracture is the least problematic. The bone is barely out of place, and the broken ends of the bones are usually aligned and stay in place as they mend. Unstable fractures require more support to mend properly.

The AAOS notes that early motion helps in the recovery from a tibia fracture because it prevents stiffness. Physical therapy is also beneficial because exercise during the healing process helps to restore joint motion, muscle strength and flexibility. Bearing weight bearing requires crutches or a walker. Both relieve some of the pressure on the fractured bone by distributing the weight more evenly.


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