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Fracture Nonunion

If you suffer from pain and tenderness from site of fracture, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.

What Is Fracture Nonunion?

Fracture nonunion refers to a condition where a fractured bone fails to heal properly and does not progress toward complete union or solidification. Normally, when a bone fractures, the body initiates a natural healing process in which the bone ends gradually reconnect, and new bone tissue forms to bridge the gap. However, in cases of fracture nonunion, this healing process is disrupted or delayed, leading to a failure in the bone union.

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of fracture nonunion, including:

  1. Poor Blood Supply: Adequate blood supply is crucial for bone healing. If the fractured bone does not receive sufficient blood flow, the healing process may be compromised.
  2. Severe Fracture: Fractures that are complex, severely displaced, or involve multiple fragments may have a higher risk of nonunion.
  3. Inadequate Immobilization: Proper immobilization and stability of the fractured bone are necessary for healing. Insufficient immobilization, such as inadequate splinting or casting, can hinder the healing process.
  4. Infection: Infections in the fracture site can impair bone healing and increase the risk of nonunion.
  5. Smoking: Smoking has been associated with delayed bone healing and an increased risk of nonunion.

Indications Of Fracture Nonunion

The symptoms of fracture nonunion can vary, but they often include persistent pain and tenderness at the site of the fracture, limited or painful movement of the affected area, and an inability of the fracture to heal despite sufficient time and appropriate treatment.

Treatments For Fracture Nonunion

Treatment options for fracture nonunion depend on various factors, including the location and severity of the nonunion, the presence of any associated complications, and the individual’s overall health. Some treatment approaches may include:

  1. Revision Surgery: This involves performing a surgical procedure to realign the fracture fragments, remove any nonviable tissue, and stabilize the fracture site with internal fixation (such as plates, screws, or rods) or external fixation (such as an external frame or cast).
  2. Bone Grafting: In cases where the bone ends cannot be adequately brought together, a bone graft may be necessary. A bone graft involves transplanting healthy bone tissue from another part of the body (autograft) or using bone graft substitutes to stimulate bone healing.
  3. Electrical Stimulation: Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound or other electrical stimulation techniques may be used to promote bone healing and stimulate the formation of new bone tissue.
  4. Medications: Medications that promote bone healing, such as bone morphogenetic proteins, may be considered in certain cases.

Recovery from fracture nonunion can be a lengthy process, and rehabilitation, including physical therapy, may be necessary to restore strength, range of motion, and function in the affected area.

It is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional, such as an orthopedic surgeon, for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan for fracture nonunion. They will evaluate the individual’s specific condition and recommend the most suitable course of action to promote bone healing and achieve successful union.


If you would like to speak to an Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Specialist, give us a call at 817-697-4038, or contact us over the web. Tele-medicine appointments are also available.