Advice on: Pre-tibial Lacerations

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY-880/2018
  • Departments: Emergency Department
  • Last Updated: 31 August 2018


This advice sheet has been produced to give you information about pre-tibial lacerations (cuts to your shinbone). It is not meant to replace discussion between you and your doctor.  If after reading it, you require further explanation please discuss this with the relevant person who has been caring for you.

A pre-tibial laceration is usually caused by knocking your leg on something and because the skin is thin it often tears. The laceration on your leg needs special care and can take between 4 weeks and 4 months or more to heal. The majority heal within 4 months.

We do not use stitches to close the wound because the skin is usually very thin on your leg, and stitches may cause further damage to the skin. Instead we use paper stitches called steri-strips and a large padded dressing is applied to provide protection against further injury.


  • Rest your leg as much as possible, placing your foot on a stool higher than your hip if possible.
  • Every hour, exercise your foot in an up and down and in and out movement.  If possible, carry out these movements for 5 minutes every hour.
  • Do not stand for long periods.
  • Short walks are advised but not long ones
  • Do not remove your bandage (this will be replaced at your dressing change appointment)
  • You must arrange to have your dressing changed in 5 days.

Your dressing can be changed at your GP Practice or Dressing Clinic.


Return to hospital, before your next dressing appointment if:

  • Your leg bleeds heavily, soaking the dressing
  • Your toes become very swollen
  • If you become concerned about your leg

Pain relief medication

To manage your pain, we advise that you regularly take simple pain relief which can be bought over the counter. If you have allergies or conditions which prevent the use of pain-relieving or anti-inflammatory medication, please seek advice from your GP or a pharmacist.

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this advice sheet, please do not hesitate to contact the Emergency Department.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and well-being and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

Contact numbers for the Emergency Department

Major Injuries Area:                 Telephone (01482) 482173

Emergency Care Area:          Telephone (01482) 482101

Children’s Injuries Area:          Telephone (01482) 482108

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