Junior Orthoteers Wrightington.com
Orthoteers Junior Orthoteers Orthopaedic Biomechanics Orthopaedic World Literature Society Educational Resources Image Gallery About Orthoteers Orthoteers Members search

Treatment of Fractures

When treating a fracture, it is important to remember you are treating not only the fracture but the patient as a whole.

Aims of Fracture Treatment

Before considering how to treat a fracture, it is important to understand what the aims of fracture treatment are:

  • Restore optimum function of the injured limb
  • Obtain and maintain reduction of the fracture
  • Encourage union (restoration of normal bone structure) of the fracture
  • Prevent complications 
  • Provide adequate pain relief
  • Rehabilitation of the patient.

How do Fractures Heal?

Bone healing occurs in four stages: 

  • Stage 1 - Haematoma formation.
    • After any fracture, bleeding occurs from the ends of the bone and from the surrounding tissues
    • The vessels that are torn at the time of fracture lead to the formation of a fracture haematoma.
  • Stage 2 - Cellular proliferation and vascular ingrowth
    • Within 8 hours of the fracture occurring, an acute inflammation reaction occurs, with proliferation of cells under the periosteum and within the breached medullary canal
    • The bone fragment ends are surrounded by cellular tissues that bridge the fracture
    • The haematoma is reabsorbed and fine new capillaries grow in the area.
  • Stage 3 - Callus formation
    • The proliferating cells are potentially chondrogenic and osteogenic in nature
    • Under the right circumstances, the cell population changes to osteoblasts and osteoclasts
    • The dead bone is mopped up and woven bone appears in the fracture callus.
  • Stage 4 - Consolidation and remodelling
    • The woven bone is replaced by lamellar bone and the fracture is solidly united
    • New bone is remodelled to resemble the original normal structure.

What affects Fracture Healing?

Numerous factors can affect fracture healing:

  • Patient - do they comply with the appropriate treatment?
  • Energy of the injury
  • Fracture site
    • Adequate compression?
    • Any movement?
  • Infection
  • Mode of treatment

Fracture Treatment

Treatment can only commence once a fracture has been diagnosed:

  • Clinical assessment
  • Radiological imaging

NB -

  • Always need radiographs in two views
  • Inorder for radiograph to be adequate, the joints above and below the injury should be included.

General Principles



Please log in to view the content of this page.
If you are having problems logging in, please refer to the login help page.


© 2011 Orthoteers.co.uk Website by Regency Medical Marketing 
Biomet supporting orthoteersThe British Orthopedic Association supporting OrthoteersOrthoteers is a non-profit educational resource. Click here for more details
Describing a Fracture
Different types of Fractures
Fracture Complications
Fracture Principles
Open Fractures
Orthopaedic Devices
Pathological Fractures
Treatment of Fractures
Hide Menu