Nonunion Fractures

What Is a Nonunion Fracture?

A hand or wrist fracture occurs when the bone is broken from an injury, causing pain and swelling. People with osteoporosis (bone density thins over time with age) are especially vulnerable to fractures. The trauma can cause fragments of the bone to shift or even shatter. “Nonunion” is a condition that results from a broken bone that does not heal properly. There must be adequate support and blood supply to promote healing.


There are nonsurgical and surgical treatments options available for nonunion fractures. Both treatment types are performed by our hand and wrist specialist at Orthopaedic Specialists. 

Nonsurgical Treatments

Nonunions may be treated using a cast and/or by receiving treatments using a small external device that delivers ultrasonic or electromagnetic waves, called a bone stimulator, to stimulate healing. While nonsurgical treatment can relieve mild cases of the condition, surgery may be necessary if it continues to worsen.

Surgical Treatments

If surgery is needed, plates and screws can help keep the bone properly aligned as it heals. As the fracture heals, blood typically begins to circulate through the injury to improve the healing process. Vascularized bone grafts have also been successful with nonunions.