The tibia is a bone in the lower leg on humans, often known as the shin bone, and it is one of the strongest weight-bearing bones in the body. It is also one of the most commonly bruised bones, since athletic activities often involves obstacles that can come in contact with the shins. A bruised tibia occurs when capillaries in the skin or bone of the tibia become damaged, allowing for swelling and minor internal bleeding. The signs that a bruised tibia has occurred include discoloration of the skin, tenderness or pain in the affected area, and swelling.
The most notable indicator of a bruised tibia, aside from pain of course, is bruising. The area that has been impacted will change colors as the tissue is damaged; this discoloration may take place immediately after the impact, or it may develop over time. The area in and around the discoloration is likely to be tender or even painful to the touch, depending on the severity of the bruised tibia. If the bone has become bruised, the impact was usually quite severe and the pain will be more intense. A person suffering from a bruised tibia may experience discomfort or pain when weight is placed on the leg.
Swelling may also occur when a bruised tibia is present in the leg. Blood may essentially pool around the injury, leading to what is known as a hematoma. Severe hematomas can be extremely dangerous and should be examined by a doctor, though minor hematomas may produce little or no real risk. It is best to get the injury examined by a doctor if the injured person is unsure of the severity of the injury. In some cases, light massaging of the affected area can reduce pain, and first aid for the injury includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation, known as the RICE treatment.
If the pain is persistent or severe, a bone fracture may have occurred and medical attention will be necessary. This commonly occurs when the force from impact was severe. A fracture may be minor and only require immobilization and the RICE treatment, though more severe fractures can cause complications such as internal bleeding or nerve damage, and attention from a doctor will be necessary. The most severe instances of a fracture may require a surgery that repairs the bones with screws or plates.