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A consecutive series of fractures of the tibial shaft was studied over a 4-year period. A total of 115 fractures in 115 patients were found to be unstable and therefore unsuitable for immediate treatment in a plaster cast. Sixty-three fractures were treated by internal fixation using AO dynamic compression plates and 52 patients were treated by calcaneal traction. The two treatment groups were compared and it was found that overall each spent a similar time in hospital but the surgically treated group required a minimum of two admissions. The surgically treated group healed 6 weeks sooner than the conservatively treated group but there was an overall complication rate of 30 per cent related to the internal fixation. One hundred and three patients were seen for clinical review, and the incidence of joint stiffness is discussed.
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Accepted: July 31, 1985
© 1986 John Wright & Sons Ltd. All rights reserved. Published by Elsevier Inc.