How to manage avulsion fractures

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Avulsion fractures develop once a tendon or ligament attached to a bone partly detaches and drags along a bone fragment. This type of fracture typically occurs due to forceful muscular contractions. Among children, avulsion fractures are quite common in areas of bone that are made up of cartilage.

Avulsion fractures are not usually complicated and can be easily managed unless there is damage to the ligament or tendon. The treatment for this type of fracture includes rest, application of ice, immobilization and surgery. When a child is suspected with an avulsion fracture, early recognition and treatment will ensure that the injury is prevented from becoming worse as well as shorten the healing period.

Rest and application of ice

Avulsion fracture
The simplest way to manage avulsion fractures is the application of ice and getting enough rest.

The simplest way to manage avulsion fractures is the application of ice and getting enough rest. Since most of these fractures eventually heal, the application of ice over the affected area along with rest or avoiding any form of physical activity that can aggravate the injury can be beneficial. In addition, avulsion fractures can appear on X-rays even after the injury repaired itself with these non-surgical treatment measures.

Immobilization

Avulsion fractures can be sometimes managed successfully with cast immobilization if the injury is severe. The injured area is placed under a cast for 4-6 weeks along with cold therapy. The ice pack must be applied for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours during times of pain or swelling. An X-ray is requested to determine if immobilization was successful. If successful, physical therapy follows after immobilization of the fracture so that the individual can resume use of the affected area.

Surgery

In severe cases of avulsion fractures that involve tendon or ligament damage, they often require surgical intervention as well as fractures in unstable areas. In most cases, surgery might involve the placement of wires, pins, screws, rods or plates in order to hold the bones together. Repair of the ligament and tendons often involves sewing of the torn edges together, but severe cases might require grafts in order to repair the injury.

Just like with any injury, a number of certain health risks are involved that you should be familiar with. Some individuals run the risk of infections, bleeding as well as the formation of scar tissue and rejection of implants.

Once an individual is suspected with an avulsion fracture, it is vital to schedule an appointment with a doctor so that proper assessment can be carried out.

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  • All stmarkjamestraining.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.