Isolated fractures of the tibia with intact fibula in children: a review of 95 patients.

Yang JP, Letts RM. J Pediatr Orthop 1997 May-Jun;17(3):347-51

Isolated tibial fractures with an intact fibula are the most common tibial fracture pattern in children. When displaced, this fracture can be difficult to reduce and retain in the position because of the splinting of the intact fibula. A 4-year review of 95 children with fracture of the tibia with an intact fibula was performed at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Eighty-one percent of the fractures were caused by an indirect rotational twisting force. Seventy-three percent of fractures were localized at the distal third of the tibial shaft. Varus angulation deformity occurred most commonly when the fracture line started distally on the anteromedial side of the tibia and progressed in an oblique or spiral manner to the proximal posterolateral aspect of the tibia. This was postulated to be caused by the posterior flexor muscle forces being more concentrated medially, whereas laterally, the intact fibula acts like a splint, thus producing a bending moment resulting in varus angulation. Close follow-up and monitoring of the isolated tibial fractures with weekly radiographs for the first 3 weeks is recommended.