It generally is accepted that fractures of the tibia located in the proximal and distal thirds tend to angulate more than midshaft fractures when treated with intramedullary nails. We therefore compared the angular deformities and final shortening of 434 closed fractures located in the middle third of the tibia treated with a functional brace with those in fractures in the proximal and distal thirds treated in the same manner. Ninety-seven percent in the middle third healed with 8° or less angulation in the mediolateral plane, which was a higher percentage than we had experienced in distal and proximal third fractures treated with this method. Nonunions occurred in four (0.9%) fractures. We found correlations between initial shortening, final shortening, initial displacement, final displacement, and time to brace with initial angulation and final angulation in the mediolateral and anteroposterior planes. The overall mean final shortening of the fractures located in the middle third was 4.3 mm. These experiences suggest satisfactory results can be obtained in most instances using a functional brace for management of closed fractures of the middle third of the tibia. Level of Evidence: Level II, therapeutic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine