Unhealed Fractures (Non Union)

Although most of the broken bones unite without any problem but some may not heal even when after the best surgical or nonsurgical treatment. These fractures are termed as unhealed fractures.

Characteristics of Unhealed Fractures:

  • Cause: Inadequate stability, blood flow, or both to the fractured bone OR bone breakage from a high-energy injury may not heal properly

  • Risk Factors of non-union: Older age, smoking, tobacco addiction, diabetes, low vitamin D, poor nutrition, hypothyroidism, certain medication, infection and open or compound fractures.

  • Symptoms: Long term pain that continues to occur months or years after the fracture. This pain can be constant or occurs only when the broken arm or leg is used.

  • Treatment: Some non-united fractures can be managed by non-surgical options like bone stimulator that delivers ultrasonic or pulsed electromagnetic waves that stimulate healing. But for other unhealed fractures, surgical treatment like bone graft or bone graft substitute.