Tibial shaft fractures are among the most common pediatric injuries managed by orthopaedic surgeons. Treatment is individualized based on patient age, concomitant injuries, fracture pattern, associated soft-tissue and neurovascular injury, and surgeon experience. Closed reduction and casting is the mainstay of treatment for diaphyseal tibial fractures. Careful clinical and radiographic follow-up with remanipulation as necessary is effective for most patients. Surgical management options include external fixation, locked intramedullary nail fixation in the older adolescent with closed physis, Kirschner wire fixation, and flexible intramedullary nailing. Union of pediatric diaphyseal tibial fractures occurs in approximately 10 weeks; nonunion occurs in < 2% of cases. Some clinicians consider sagittal deformity angulation >10 degrees to be malunion and indicate that 10 degrees of valgus and 5 degrees of varus may not reliably remodel. Compartment syndromes associated with tibial shaft fractures occur less frequently in children and adolescents than in adults. Diagnosis may be difficult in a young child or one with altered mental status. Although the toddler fracture of the tibia is one of the most common in children younger than age 2 years, child abuse must be considered in the young child with an inconsistent history or with suspicious concomitant injuries.



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