A fracture occurs when a bone area breaks, usually in half, either all the way or partly. Partial breaking is easier to heal because there is a connecting part that has not been damaged. In case the bone breaks all the way, the two portions are disjoint. They can heal in time, but others need therapy and immediate realignment procedures to reconnect. Two disjoint bones can constitute non union fractures.
Types of Non Union Fracture
All types of fractures can be classified as non union if they refuse to bond. The general types are the following:
• Upper Body Fractures. This includes the head, neck and upper torso areas. Upper body fractures need to be handled with care because of the vital organs the bones need to protect. Cases of open non union fracture that has been misdiagnosed can lead to damage in the heart, arteries and lungs.
• Spinal Fractures. These are the vertebral fractures wherein a certain number of vertebral bones have been broken, leaving them to protrude or misalign.
• Lower Extremity Fractures. The lower limbs and feet may be fractured due to varying causes. In case the tibia fibula region has been damaged and has not been reconnected, non union fracture is present.
These can be non union fracture clavicle, metatarsal, scaphoid, tibia or neck of femur.
Oftentimes, an accident is the main cause of a non union fracture. Whenever a person meets a fall accident, there is a possibility of a fracture. Events such as falling from a tree with force on the neck or jumping off a high place with the pressure on the feet may lead to bone breaking. An x-ray or MRI needs to be done to see the position and state of the broken bone. Rehabilitation or rehab is necessary.
• Accidents often cause non union fractures. For the fracture to become non union, it has to have been given treatment but failed to heal. The case may have been undetected. Different areas of the body that was given too much pressure and lead to an angulated or open fracture can cause an unhealed non union fracture. Furthermore, once the bone breaks, shards of sharp bones can prevent the bone from realigning naturally.
• A person with high cortisol levels will have a lesser chance of bone healing.
• Gluten sensitivity and the constant use of immunosuppressant also prevent the bones from realigning.
• Non union also happens when micro movements take place on the bone segments that need to be rejoined.
• Diabetes, smoking and infection can also prevent the body from helping the bones to rejoin.
Non Union Fracture Symptoms
• If there is pain, usually chronic pain.
• If the fracture is on the neck and shoulder region, the patient may experience vision blurring, speech difficulty and failure to rotate the neck.
• If the bone is protruding, pain and swelling may occur.
• If the fracture is on the spine, discomfort when straightening the body can be felt.
• If the fracture is on the lower limbs, difficulty in walking happens.
Non Union Fracture Treatment
Bone graft is the most common treatment to help heal non union bone fracture. By adding a figment of straight plate to realign the bones, micro movements will be prevented. A bone stimulator is also helpful when determining how to approach a non union fracture. Resting the damaged area for two weeks is also recommended. The lower limbs should not be given pressing weight, the spine should not move and the neck and head region should not be forced to tilt or rotate beyond what it is currently capable of. Supporting the affected area to complete a task will also remove some of the pressure from it.
Internal fixation is also done to realign the bones and allow them to heal without any aid. However, if the bones are jagged, internal fixation needs to be coupled with bone grafting to prevent the damage of nearby organs or tissues. Increasing the bone density with the help of foods rich in calcium can also be done to help bones regenerate.
Non Union Fracture Healing Time Or Recovery Time: It can mostly require longer than 2 months.
Prevention of Non Union Bone Injury
To prevent a non union fracture, it is important to keep a high bone density. This way, the bones will not easily break and cases of fracture will be lessened. It is also advised that the use of immunosuppressant should be minimized so that bone healing will progress naturally. To avoid this kind of fracture, composed movements should be taken. Any sharp turn or unexpected forceful blow should not be done habitually.
When to Call A Doctor
There have been cases of wrong diagnosis that is why there are many cases of non union fractures. So if you experience chronic pain on your healed bone and there is still the weakening of the muscles, you must consult your physician about this.