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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 occurs when a fractured bone fails to heal properly and does not progress toward complete union or solidification. Typically, when a bone fractures, the body initiates a natural healing process wherein the bone ends gradually reconnect, and new bone tissue forms to bridge the gap. However, in cases of fracture nonunion, the healing process experiences disruption or delay, leading to a failure in the bone union.

Factors Contributing to Fracture Nonunion

Inadequate blood supply, severe fractures, insufficient immobilization, infection, and smoking all contribute to this condition. Additionally, insufficient blood flow can compromise the healing process of a fractured bone. Complex or severely displaced fractures, as well as those involving multiple fragments, heighten the risk of nonunion. Proper immobilization and stability of the fractured bone are crucial for healing, and inadequate immobilization, such as insufficient splinting or casting, can impede this process. Infections at the fracture site hinder bone healing and increase the likelihood of nonunion. Furthermore, smoking has been linked to delayed bone healing and a higher risk of nonunion. These factors underscore the importance of addressing these issues to promote successful fracture healing and prevent 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:

 Surgeons perform revision surgery to realign fracture fragments, remove nonviable tissue, and stabilize the fracture site using internal fixation methods like plates, screws, or rods, or external fixation methods such as an external frame or cast. Surgeons may conduct bone graft procedures when they cannot adequately align bone ends, transplanting healthy bone tissue from another part of the body (autograft) or using bone graft substitutes to stimulate bone healing.

Healthcare professionals utilize techniques like low-intensity pulsed ultrasound or other electrical stimulation methods to promote bone healing and encourage the formation of new bone tissue. In certain cases, healthcare providers consider administering medications such as bone morphogenetic proteins to promote bone healing.

To recover from fracture nonunion, individuals may need a lengthy process involving rehabilitation, including physical therapy, to restore strength, range of motion, and function in the affected area. Consulting with a qualified healthcare professional, such as an orthopedic surgeon, for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan is crucial. The surgeon 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.