Complications :




An old fracture with nonunion of the fracture fragments.

Some fractures can lead to serious complications including a condition known as compartment syndrome. If not treated, compartment syndrome can result in amputation of the affected limb. Other complications may include non-union, where the fractured bone fails to heal or mal-union, where the fractured bone heals in a deformed manner.

Complications of fractures can be classified into three broad groups depending upon their time of occurrence. These are as follows -

1.     Immediate complications - occurs at the time of the fracture.

2.     Early complications - occurring in the initial few days after the fracture.

3.     Late complications - occurring a long time after the fracture.


Immediate complications

Early complications

Late complications


·         Hypovolaemic shock


·         Hypovolaemic shock

·         ARDS - Adult respiratory distress syndrome

·         Fat embolism syndrome

·         Deep vein thrombosis

·         Pulmonary syndrome

·         Aseptic traumatic fever

·         Septicemia (in open fracture )

·         Crush syndrome

Imperfect union of the fracture

·         Delayed union

·         Non union

·         Mal union

·         Cross union


·         Injury to major vessels

·         Injury to muscles and tendons

·         Injury to joints

·         Injury to viscera


·         Infection

·         Compartment syndrome


·         Avascular necrosis

·         Shortening

·         Joint stiffness

·         Sudeck's dystrophy

·         Osteomyelitis

·         Ischaemic contracture

·         Myositis ossificans

·         Osteoarthritis



In children 

In children, whose bones are still developing, there are risks of either a growth plate injury or greenstick fracture.

·         A greenstick fracture occurs due to mechanical failure on the tension side. That is, since the bone is not as brittle as it would be in an adult, it does not completely fracture, but rather exhibits bowing without complete disruption of the bone's cortex in the surface opposite the applied force.

·         Growth plate injuries, as in Salter-Harris fractures, require careful treatment and accurate reduction to make sure that the bone continues to grow normally.

·         Plastic deformation of the bone, in which the bone permanently bends but does not break, is also possible in children. These injuries may require an osteotomy (bone cut) to realign the bone if it is fixed and cannot be realigned by closed methods.

·         Certain fractures are known to occur mainly in the pediatric age group, such as fracture of the clavicle & supracondylar fracture of the humerus.