The upper surface of the tibia or shinbone is called the tibial plateau. If you engage in activities such as horse riding, skiing, and certain water sports, you are likely to get a tibial plateau fracture. Since the tibial plateau contains certain structures essential for proper functioning of your knees, a fracture to this area may lead to some serious consequences. Fractures of the tibial plateau are usually associated with injuries to the collateral ligaments (LCL or MCL), anterior cruciate ligament, menisci and articular cartilage. It is possible to repair the damage, but the injury can lead to the early onset of osteoarthritis. Moreover, you need to be careful during tibial plateau fracture recovery to ensure you do not have to deal with serious complications.
How do you know you have Tibial Plateau fractureA fracture to your shinbone may also injure the bone as well as the soft tissues associated with your knee. Some common symptoms of a tibial plateau fracture include the following:
- You may experience pain when you bear weight on the injured leg.
- You may notice some tension around your knee; it may be difficult to bend your knee completely.
- You may have deformity around your affected knee, but the leg may look normal.
- You may notice your foot look pale or feel cold after the injury.
- You may notice numbness around your foot after the injury.
Types of Tibial Plateau Fracture
Non-DisplacedYou have this type of fracture when the tibia has sustained a crack or break but no fragment of the bone has separated. Tibial plateau fracture recovery is relatively easier in this case – it does not require surgical intervention and may heal within 3-4 months. You just need to ensure that you do not bear any weight on your affected leg and wear a knee brace as well.
In this type of fracture, there will be some fragments separating from the tibia. You usually require surgical intervention to fix the problem – your doctor will use screws and plates to re-fix those fragments. It takes several months to recover from this type of injury.
Tibial Plateau Fracture
Non-Surgical TreatmentsIt involves following the P.R.I.C.E approach – it means you have to Protect your affected area; give it enough Rest; use Ice packs; keep it Compressed; and Elevate it. You need to ensure that you do not put any weight on your injured leg and keep wearing a hinged knee brace for as long as your doctor recommends. It is also important to avoid limb immobilization or it would lead to knee stiffness.
Surgical TreatmentsYou usually need surgery for displaced fractures, open fractures, and fractures that change the mechanical alignment of your limb. Your doctor may use one of two approaches to treat your fracture surgically. They may opt for external fixation that involves using metal wires and pins to promote distraction and reduction of the fracture. They may also use another technique that involves using plates and screws to re-fix the fracture and bone fragments. Depending on how serious the fracture is, your doctor will make an incision in the skin and use metallic screws to reduce and fix the fracture fragments.
Tibial Plateau Fracture RecoveryOnce you have sustained the injury or undergone surgery, you need to pay special attention to recovery. There are certain things you should or should not do during this phase. Here is more about it.