Chipped Shin Bone [Causes, Symptoms & Best Treatment]
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!
Table of Contents
Why do I have a chipped shine bone lump video:
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, called the fibula. It does officially comprise your ankle joint, but not so much the knee joint. They are both essential 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.
- 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 soccer 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!
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.
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’s 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.
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.
- The 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.
Factors that make chipped or broken shinbone more unlikely:
The 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.
Types of Fractures in the Shin Bone:
There are many types of Tibial fractures:
The broken ends of the bone are properly aligned. This type of fracture does not require surgery to repair, and it heals quickly.
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 oblique 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 staircase. 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.
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 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 need to remove the chipped shinbone.
- Surgery is called an open reduction. The internal fixation will likely need to be performed by a specialist.
3) Plates and screws vs. an external fixator:
- If you’re shinbone breaks through the skin, a device called an external or ring fixator might 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.
4) Recovery time in treatment for a 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 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 can still walk on your leg.
- It is rare to 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:
- Are you able to put weight on it?
- Do you have a deformity?
- Did you suffer a severe accident?
- Do you have black and blue bruising of your leg?
If the form of these questions leans towards the less severe side, your bone is likely not broken.
But if you can still walk and it continues to bother you, see your podiatrist or other foot and ankle specialist to make sure you have imaging performed to make 100% sure.
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 few 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 shin 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, then 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 is positive, it is more likely that you have a broken foot or ankle.
Home Treatment For Ankle Joint Rehab:
- You should transition to a rigid ankle support brace after you are out of a cast or walking boot.
- These are our favorite braces.
- These stability braces are meant for when you immediately leave the immobilizing boot.
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 to start walking differently to take pressure off your ankle, but the problem is that you 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 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.
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:
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.
Get Great Shoes:
- Getting a great supportive pair of shoes will ensure 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 shoe’s lateral aspect.
- Consider shoes combined with a good supportive orthotic for best pain relief!
- The following link will show you what our favorites are.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can you chip your shin bone?
Yes, it is possible to chip your shin bone. Luckily this is very unlikely to cause long-term problems in most cases.
If you think you might have broken your shin bone, call your podiatrist to evaluate an X-ray and possibly an MRI.