Suffering From A Complex Tibia Fracture? Here's What You Need To Know About Recovery & Treatments

The tibia is the biggest bone in the lower part of the leg. It bears the weight of your body when you stand and move on your feet. When the tibia bone fracture breaks the skin, it's called a complex fracture and requires surgical treatment to repair the fracture. Complex fractures of the tibia can cause the affected leg to be immobile for many months. But it's important to understand that immobility for that length of time can cause problems with symmetry and balance in the future. Here's why and what types of treatments are recommended. 

Immobility Causes an Imbalance 

When you're not using your broken leg at all your other leg has to do all of the work. The muscles in the immobile leg start to wither and waste away, including the buttock, hip, and thigh muscles. This is called muscle atrophy. At the same time, the muscles in your other leg are strengthening due to having to compensate for the immobility of the injured leg. This causes the muscles in the injured leg being smaller and weaker, and the muscles in the healthy leg being larger and stronger. 

When the buttock, hip, and thigh muscles are uneven from one leg to the other, it can cause what appears to be a difference in the length of the legs, even if the bone lengths are not different at all after healing from surgical treatment to correct a tibia fracture. This imbalance is called functional short leg syndrome, leg length alignment asymmetry, and leg length discrepancy. 

Treatment for Imbalance 

There are several types of treatments available that, when combined, can help correct leg length discrepancy caused by an imbalance in muscles. However, be sure to consult with your orthopedic surgeon for clearance before moving forward with these treatment options. 

  • an orthotic device placed in the shoe of the 'shorter' leg 
  • chiropractic adjustments to align the musculoskeleton
  • physical therapy to improve muscle strength in the atrophied muscles 

When done simultaneously as a well-rounded approach, the combination of these treatments may help balance your legs to bring them to be more symmetrical. The reason symmetry is so important is because, as long as your legs are constantly compensating for being asymmetrical, you could easily have the potential for developing chronic pain in your back, hips, knees, and ankles, which could result in a downward spiral that could be more difficult to recover from. Contact a clinic, like Hiler Chiropractic and Vax-D Decompression Center, for more help.