Chipped Shin Bone: Causes, Symptoms & Best Treatment 2020

Chipped Shin Bone: If you didn’t have a severe accident, black and blue bruising, or any deformity to your leg- 95% chance you are OK!

 

 

What is the Shin Bone?

  • The shinbone is actually a large bone called the tibia. It is the bone between the knee and ankle.
  • Together with the foot, the tibia forms the leg. Together with the thigh this forms what is called the lower extremity.
  • There are two bones within the leg between the ankle and the knee. The larger bone which bears 85% of your weight, is called the tibia. The smaller bone towards the outside of your body bears 15% of your weight and this is called the fibula. It does officially comprise your ankle joint, but not so much the knee joint. They are both very important bones for the attachment of ligaments and muscles.
  • It is very rare to chip your shinbone, if you did this is a very severe injury that would likely not let you be able to walk with. True tibial shaft breaks occur with very significant injuries such as severe falls or car accidents.
  • Fractures can occur anywhere throughout this bone, but once again you would see a definitive deformity.
  • It is very unlikely that you chipped the bone, otherwise you would feel severe deformity.

 

 

This is a minor fracture of the fibula. The patient avulsed the ligament from the tip of the fibula. Ligaments to worry about here are the ATFL, PTFL and CFL.

Causes:

 

  • As mentioned earlier, it takes a large amount of force to chip the shin bone. High-energy collisions such as car crashes or motorcycle crashes can cause these fractures.
  • Sports injuries such as player collisions in soccor or a fall while skiing can result in a Chipped Shin Bone.
  • Because sports injuries are not as high energy as vehicles crashes, they result in minor and less serious fractures.
  • If you have a Chipped Shin Bone, it may be possible to feel it exactly on the inside of the tibia. It will also really hurt & you won’t be able to bear any weight on your foot.

A shin stress fracture is possible and can cause a gradually onsetting shin pain. But if you stubbed your shin on a coffee table, you most likely don’t have a tibial stress fracture!

Chipped Shin Bone: Causes , Symptoms & Best Treatment 2019
In this x-ray there is ankle arthritis and heel spurs. This is an older patient that has gone through extensive trauma, this is why there is extensive chipped bones in the shin and ankle. It is very unlikely to chip your ship bone unless you have suffered significant trauma.

 

Symptoms:

Think broken shin bone if:

  • You feel severe Pain.
  • You can’t put any weight on the leg.
  • There is a gross deformity in the shin area.
  • You can feel a bone deformity when compared to your other leg.
  • You have numbness, burning or tingling in your foot.This does not guarantee that the bone is broken, it could still just be a bone bruise! But if you hit your shin bone very hard, it may be possible to fracture the bone. It is unlikely to have a small chip, but it may be a break.
Broken Ankle Anatomy Recovery Time
This ankle is not broken, but there is definitely joint space loss. This can be a strong sign of injury or ankle arthritis.

Think bone bruise or severe skin bruise if:

  • Pain that does not get worse with weight bearing.
  • You can stand on your heel.
  • It doesn’t make much of a difference if weight bearing or non-weight bearing.
  • No obvious deformity in the leg.
  • If you can feel with your hand and the bone is generally the same as the other leg.
  • No tending of the skin.
  • No numbness, burning or tingling in the foot.

 

 

Can a shin chip fracture be dangerous?

 

  • If you had a dangerous fracture that went all the way through both sides of the bone, yes this would be very dangerous. But you would have a severely deformed leg or be unable to put any weight on your foot.
  • Simply having swelling at the front of your shin, is more likely to be a bone bruise, or an muscle injury.

 

This is a minor fracture of the fibula. The patient avulsed the ligament from the tip of the fibula. Ligaments to worry about here are the ATFL, PTFL and CFL.

 

How do I know if I have a chipped shinbone or just bruised?

 

  • Very likely it is just a bruise, otherwise he would have severe difficulty walking.
  • If you do not have a significant deformity, this is more likely to be a bruise than a broken bone.
  • The best way to make sure that you don’t have a chip, is to get an x-ray at the emergency room or your podiatrist office if it is severely injured.
  •  from what we see in our office, people usually think they may have a chip, but it is very unlikely to be checked.
  • This is a different story if you have severe pain, black thing damage.

 

Sprained Foot Healing Time: The Home Treatment Guide
A sprained foot, a sprained ankle or a sprained big toe joint can take on average 5-7 days to decrease in swelling, then up to 2-6 weeks to get feeling normal again.

 

Factors that make a chipped or broken shinbone more likely:

 

A chipped shin bone is much more likely if you have the following going on:

  • Tenderness directly to the bone.
  • An inability to place weight on the leg.
  • Black bruised skin.
  • Severe swelling.
  • Huge lump that forms on your shin.
  • Severe deformity.
  • An inability to put any weight on your leg.
  • Having just suffered a severe injury like a fault or a car accident.

 

Ankle joint foot model mortise anatomy. fibula tibia and talus
This is a bone model of the ankle joint. 3 bones make up the joint: The talus, fibula and tibia.

 

Factors that make chipped or broken shinbone more unlikely:

 

Chipped shinbone is much less likely if you have the following going on:

  • A small bump against the coffee table.
  • Not having severe pain to the extremity.
  • No significant deformity.
  • No tenderness directly to the bone.
  • You can still put all your weight on the bone.
  • A bump against the door frame or wall.
  • Getting kicked during a sports game.
  • No severe bruising.
  • If it is just sore but you are still able to walk on it.
  • A negative x-ray.
  • The lack of deformity through your tibia.

 

Kwire fixation ankle fracture.

Types of Fractures in the Shin Bone:

There are many types of Tibial fractures:

 

Stable fracture:

The broken ends of the bone are properly alligned. This type of fracture does not require surgery to repair and it heals quickly.

 

Displaced fracture:

The broken ends of the bone are not properly aligned. This type of fracture requires surgery to repair. There are many forms of displaced fractures:

a) Oblique fracture– this type of fracture has an onlique shape. It starts as stable and over time it falls out of place.

b) Transverse  fracture– it is a fracture in the shape of a horizontal line. This fracture can be stable or unstable (especially if the Fibula is also broken).

c) Spiral fracture– has the shape of a strair case. Normally a twisting force to the leg can cause this type of fracture.

d) Open fracture– this occurs when both the Tibia and the Fibula are fractured.

Broken and dislocated ankle recovery time

 

Treatment of broken shinbone:

If you truly do have a tibial fracture, this is a very severe injury. The first thing you have to do is go visit a specialist and get an x-ray, or a CT scan performed.

This is a considered a very serious injury that may need surgery or at the very least very long-term casting.

 

1) Casting for a chipped shin bone:

  • Depending on the severity of your broken tibial fracture, you may need to wear this cast for at least 4 to 6 weeks.
  • If the bone is not aligned, you may need further surgery plus casting.

 

2) Surgery for a chipped broken shin bone:

  • It is very rare to simply need to remove the chipped shinbone.
  • A surgery called an open reduction, internal fixation will likely need to be performed by a specialist.

 

Broken ankle fixation: tibia and fibula surgery
This is a patient who presented for painful hardware. The plate on the fibula was prominent and rubbing against the inside of her skin 12 years later.

 

3) Plates and screws vs. an external fixator:

  • If you’re shinbone breaks through the skin, a device called an external, or ring fixator may be necessary.
  • Once again this is a very significant injury at this point, and you will be hospitalized and seen by a team of specialists.

 

External fixation broken dislocated ankle recovery time
This is an example of an external fixator.

 

4) Recovery time in treatment for an chipped or Broken shin bone:

  • If you truly do chip or break your shinbone, this will require a recovery time of at least 4 to 6 weeks.
  • If you do have displacement shifting of the bones, you are looking at at least three months of total healing time.
  • This will involve healing the surgery, and extensive physical therapy to get your joint range of motion back.
  • With an injury this severe, you may never completely regain the initial function that you did have.
  • Some patients do have long-term arthritis or chronic pain depending on how severe and displaced injury is.

 

Complications of a chipped or broken shinbone:

  • These can be the complications of any broken bone, these include long-term pain, the need for surgery, and permanent disability.

 

Chipped shinbone summary:

  • The real key for chapter broken shinbone is to realize that you probably don’t have a break if you had a small bump or if you are still able to walk on your leg.
  • It is very rare to simply chip or break a piece of the bone off, without completely cracking through the bone and being unable to put weight on it.

 

The four major criteria include:

  1. Are you able to put weight on it?
  2. Do you have a deformity?
  3. Did you suffer a severe accident?
  4. Do you have black and blue bruising of your leg?

 

If the form these questions lean towards the less severe side, and likely your bone is not broken.

But if you are still able to walk and it continues to bother you, go see your podiatrist or other foot and ankle specialist to make sure you have imaging performed to make 100% sure.

 

Ankle Joint syndesmosis rupture or tear
If the syndesmosis tears between your fibula and tibia, it can lead to ankle joint injury and instability. This is very difficult to run or walk with and ankle joints syndesmosis rupture.

 

How to know for sure?

If you have pain in your Shin Bone, you probably do not have a fracture (because this requires a huge amount of force). But it may certainly be possible.

  • It is even possible to have a broken tibia with very little symptoms.
  • It is also possible to have just a bruise with severe pain.
  • It all depends on the person & how the body reacts to it!
  • The only way to know 100% sure is to see your podiatrist & get an X-ray or MRI.

 

Shin Bone Stress Fracture:

If you stubbed your shin on a coffee table or a door, you likely do not have a stress fracture of the shine bone.

  • These usually do not happen while stubbing your shin.
  • A tibial stress fracture gradually onsets over a period of days or weeks.
  • It is not detectable on X-ray for about 10-21 days on average.
  • If there is trauma than it is an actual fracture, not a stress fracture.
  • A stress fracture occurs due to chronic overloading of the bone, this is usually in marathon runners.

 

Can I have a possible ankle fracture?

The Ottawa ankle rules are a series of 6 guidelines to determine if a bone is broken or not.

It assesses these 6 factors:

  • 1) Tibial bone pain.
  • 2) Fibular bone pain.
  • 3) Weight bearing ankle pain.
  • 4) 5th metatarsal pain.
  • 5) Navicular pain.
  • 6) Weight bearing foot pain.

If one of these are positive, then it is more likely that you have a broken foot or ankle.

 

Home Treatment For Ankle Joint Rehab:

  • After you are out of a cast or walking boot, you should transition to a rigid ankle support brace.
  • These are our favorite braces.
  • These stability braces are meant for when you immediately leave the immobilizing boot.

 

Table could not be displayed.

 

Broken Ankle Physical Therapy:

 

  • Physical therapy is definitely needed to optimize recovery.
  • The dangers of not having physical therapy following an ankle fracture are the lack of joint flexibility.
  • It is very easy at the beginning to simply start walking differently to take pressure off your ankle, but the problem is that your keep walking that way even after the fracture heals.
  • In our opinion this is the number one reason for long term problems, the joint contractures that develop can lead to knee, hip and back issues that then last a very long time.
  • People may then need further surgery for those issues.
  • Physical therapy can usually last for 3-4 weeks depending on injury coverage and severity of the fracture.

 

Ankle foot orthosis for broken ankle rehabilitation
This patient is many months postoperative from a severe ankle fracture. We did fit them with a custom ankle brace and orthotic combined into one to allow for pain free walking and mobility.

What If I have Pain 6+ Months Later?

  • These are compression braces that should help you long term.
  • These are meant more for compression and fit, rather than absolute stability:

 

Table could not be displayed.

 

Pain Relief Options:

  • Consider menthol as an alternative to icing.
  • Studies have shown that the pain relief can last 2x as long.
  • This is safer than long term NSAIDs or other pills.

 

Best Foot & Ankle Muscle/Ligament Pain Relief Products
Best & Proven Pain Relieving Gel.
Roll On Version of Biofreeze Gel.
A giant container of value size biofreeze.
Menthol Based Ointment with Hemp Extract
Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel, 4 oz. Tube, Pack of 3 (Packaging May Vary)
Biofreeze Pain Relief Roll-On, 3 oz. Roll-On, Fast Acting, Long Lasting, & Powerful Topical Pain Reliever, Pack of 3 (Packaging May Vary)
Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel, 1 Gallon Pump, Green (Packaging May Vary)
HEMPACTIV Hemp Pain Relief Cream | Hemp + MSM + Arnica + Menthol | Relieve Muscle, Joint & Arthritis Pain | Effective Hemp Pain Cream | 2oz
Price:
$29.99
$26.40
$137.21
$29.99
Overview:
The Proven and Scientifically Published Menthol Based Gel
Same as biofreeze gel, but the roll-on is prefered by some people for their feet, less messy.
8.1 lbs(3.67 kg) of Value Sized Biofreeze!
This is an alternative cream: Basically Biofreeze + hemp extract.
Pros:
Scientifically proven to loosen up and relief pain up to 2x longer than Ice. Less effort than ice and great reviews. 900+ 5 star reviews on Amazon.
The roll-on application of this biofreeze can be easier to apply. Less overall mess.
If you know you already love it and trust the reviews. This is a great value that lasts a long time.
It has great reviews, loved by the all natural crowd. 100s of 5 star reviews with a near perfect rating.
Cons:
Don't put this on open sores or mucous membranes, it will burn! It can run out quick and doesn't prevent pain, just helps it.
Not as easy to spread in other areas, main difference is the roll on applicator, same solution.
A gigantic bottle that could fall over and injure you! Seriously this could be too big in some situations.
Basically looks like menthol(active Biofreeze ingredient), but with hemp extract SKYROCKETING the price.
Important Tips:
Menthol is the active ingredient in this and other hemp based creams. It works similar to ice, but once you apply it you can just move on rather than waiting 20 minutes. **Works great to get your through the night if you have pain sleeping**
Roll-on method is best for the bottom of the feet. No other real advantage. Most patients like it prior to bed for easy sleeping without foot pain.
If you know you love it, this stuff works all over the sore areas in your body not just your foot. I have had many people get me to order this for them in the past and LOVED IT!
The hemp extract is almost nothing and likely a marketing gimmick. It's basically Biofreeze with some hemp extract raising the price.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best Foot & Ankle Muscle/Ligament Pain Relief Products
Best & Proven Pain Relieving Gel.
Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel, 4 oz. Tube, Pack of 3 (Packaging May Vary)
Price:
$29.99
Overview:
The Proven and Scientifically Published Menthol Based Gel
Pros:
Scientifically proven to loosen up and relief pain up to 2x longer than Ice. Less effort than ice and great reviews. 900+ 5 star reviews on Amazon.
Cons:
Don't put this on open sores or mucous membranes, it will burn! It can run out quick and doesn't prevent pain, just helps it.
Important Tips:
Menthol is the active ingredient in this and other hemp based creams. It works similar to ice, but once you apply it you can just move on rather than waiting 20 minutes. **Works great to get your through the night if you have pain sleeping**
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best Foot & Ankle Muscle/Ligament Pain Relief Products
Roll On Version of Biofreeze Gel.
Biofreeze Pain Relief Roll-On, 3 oz. Roll-On, Fast Acting, Long Lasting, & Powerful Topical Pain Reliever, Pack of 3 (Packaging May Vary)
Price:
$26.40
Overview:
Same as biofreeze gel, but the roll-on is prefered by some people for their feet, less messy.
Pros:
The roll-on application of this biofreeze can be easier to apply. Less overall mess.
Cons:
Not as easy to spread in other areas, main difference is the roll on applicator, same solution.
Important Tips:
Roll-on method is best for the bottom of the feet. No other real advantage. Most patients like it prior to bed for easy sleeping without foot pain.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best Foot & Ankle Muscle/Ligament Pain Relief Products
A giant container of value size biofreeze.
Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel, 1 Gallon Pump, Green (Packaging May Vary)
Price:
$137.21
Overview:
8.1 lbs(3.67 kg) of Value Sized Biofreeze!
Pros:
If you know you already love it and trust the reviews. This is a great value that lasts a long time.
Cons:
A gigantic bottle that could fall over and injure you! Seriously this could be too big in some situations.
Important Tips:
If you know you love it, this stuff works all over the sore areas in your body not just your foot. I have had many people get me to order this for them in the past and LOVED IT!
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best Foot & Ankle Muscle/Ligament Pain Relief Products
Menthol Based Ointment with Hemp Extract
HEMPACTIV Hemp Pain Relief Cream | Hemp + MSM + Arnica + Menthol | Relieve Muscle, Joint & Arthritis Pain | Effective Hemp Pain Cream | 2oz
Price:
$29.99
Overview:
This is an alternative cream: Basically Biofreeze + hemp extract.
Pros:
It has great reviews, loved by the all natural crowd. 100s of 5 star reviews with a near perfect rating.
Cons:
Basically looks like menthol(active Biofreeze ingredient), but with hemp extract SKYROCKETING the price.
Important Tips:
The hemp extract is almost nothing and likely a marketing gimmick. It's basically Biofreeze with some hemp extract raising the price.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):

 

Get Great Shoes:

  • Getting a great supportive pair of shoes will make sure that there is pressure removed from your ankle and foot long term.
  • This is especially important if you are flat footed and your foot starts to turn outward against the lateral aspect of the shoe.
  • Consider shoes combined with a good supportive orthotic for best pain relief!
  • The following link will show you what our favorites are.

 

Best Podiatrist Recommended Shoes