Authors of section


Alan Ruggles

Executive Editor

Jörg Auer

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Simple diaphyseal fractures

Fracture characteristics and causes

Complete simple tibial diaphyseal fractures are more common in foals than adults. Adults typically suffer high energy injuries leading to comminuted fractures that are generally unsuited to internal fixation.
The cause of tibial fractures is typically direct trauma or falls although complete fractures secondary to tibial stress fractures can occur but are rare.

diaphyseal simple


Tibial fractures usually develop as a result of trauma, such as kicks or falls. The exception to this are tibial stress fractures, which are an accumulation of cyclic loading and bone fatigue.

Fracture types overview

The most common types of tibial fractures are:

  1. Salter Harris Type II
  2. Tibial crest fractures
  3. Simple diaphyseal fractures
  4. Comminuted diaphyseal fractures
  5. Diaphyseal stress fractures
  6. Medial malleolus fractures
  7. Lateral malleolus fractures
  8. Distal physeal fractures


Radiography provides the most meaningful information as to location and configuration of the fracture(s).
In most cases 4 views at 45 degree intervals provide adequate information for an exact diagnosis. For the evaluation of the proximal tibia typically a lateromedial and a caudocranial projection each is enough.
Nuclear scintigraphy is useful in the identification of tibial stress fractures, which may be radiographically inapparent.

Craniocaudal and lateromedial views

Clinical signs

Clinical signs of comminuted diaphyseal fractures are obvious with limb instability and associated swelling. Many fractures are type I open, but more significant soft-tissue injury can also occur.