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Vail Skier Collision: Treatment for a Broken Femur or Tibia

Skier and snowboarder collisions can result in terrible injury to the femur and tibia. The femur, the thighbone, is the longest and largest bone in the body. The tibia, shinbone, is the second longest bone in the body. Both bear tremendous amounts of weight. Breaks sometimes occur when an uphill skier or snowboarder, violating the Colorado Skier Safety Act Code slams into a downhill rider. These impacts can be horrific and winter clothing provides scant protection.

Sometimes a hairline or slight fracture can occur (more likely to the tibia than the femur) and the skier may not even be aware that it’s broken. In serious fractures, the break is unmistakable. In more significant collisions the bone may protrude through the skin or the skier may be unable to put any weight on the injured leg.

The treatment for a broken tibia or femur largely depends on the type and severity of the fracture. In nearly every instance, the victim is going to get a sled ride with Vail Ski Patrol to the bottom.

Types of Tibia and Femur Fractures

The force of the impact in a skiing accident and exactly where along the shinbone or thigh the impact occurred can determine the severity of the fracture.

There are numerous categories of tibia fractures, some of which are discussed below.

  • Stable fracture – if there is a relatively clean break and the bones haven’t shifted, the doctors label it as a stable fracture.
  • Traverse and oblique fractures – traverse fractures are those characterized by a horizontal break and oblique fractures, often considered unstable, are those with a diagonal break across the tibia.
  • Spiral fractures – the fracture occurs when the cyclist’s leg was suddenly and violently twisted, the fracture is considered a spiral fracture.
  • Comminuted fracture – this type of injury is a serious multi-fracture. It occurs when the tibia breaks into three or more pieces.
  • Compound fracture – in a compound fracture, the break is so severe that the bone pierces the skin.

Types of Treatment for a Broken Tibia the Doctor May Order

A broken shinbone is of the most painful types of fractures. And the tibia plays a crucial role in mobility and functionality, so serious shinbone injuries can greatly interfere with normal, everyday activities.

The treatment for a broken tibia depends upon the type and severity of the fracture. For many mild to moderate fractures, a splint may suffice as an initial treatment. The splint will provide stability and keep the bone in place while the swelling goes down, at which time a cast might be applied to allow the body time to repair itself. 

Serious fractures may require surgery. In some cases, the surgeon may need to implant screws and plates to help give the tibia stability and to keep it straight during the healing process. This is known as open reduction and internal fixation or ORIF. Your doctor will provide more detail about treatment for a broken tibia and the recovery period afterward; in some cases, physical therapy may be necessary.

Types of Treatment for a Broken Femur the Doctor May Order

A broken femur is a horrific injury. Most of these fractures are going to require surgical intervention. The recovery time for a broken femur is usually significant and physical therapy will be required.

Ensuring Your Skier Collision Claim Settlement Is Sufficient

Many skiers and snowboards don’t get the compensation to which they’re entitled after a wreck because either they fail to list all of their damages, or because the insurance company downplays the significance.

If you suffered an injury in a skier collision, you need an expert attorney that seeks reimbursement for all the injuries, harms and losses.

Every case is different but here’s some of the potential damages:

  • Emergency room visit and diagnostic tests
  • Medical and rehabilitation bills
  • Cost of prescriptions, medical aides (such as crutches) and other treatment for a broken tibia or broken femur
  • Lost wages and disability
  • The impact of the injury on your daily life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring
  • Impairment

If you’ve been involved in a skiing or snowboarding collision and have questions, I’m happy to give honest answers – it’s what I do every day. Call me at (303) 300-5060 or email me at The consultation is always free.

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