An avulsion fracture happens when a tendon or ligament pulls a small fragment of bone from the main bone. These fractures usually occur near joints, such as in the fingers, hips, feet, and ankles.
Avulsion fractures are
The fracture occurs when a ligament or tendon is placed under stress. The ligament or tendon is torn off of a larger bone, carrying a small piece of bone with it.
A person may have swelling, pain, and a limited range of motion.
The treatment depends somewhat on the location of the fracture, but it
Below, learn about treatments for different types of avulsion fracture, as well as the causes and the likely timeline of recovery.
An avulsion fracture happens when a tendon or ligament pulls off a small fragment of a fractured bone. Treatment
- resting the affected area
- applying ice packs
- taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication
- using a compression bandage or splint
Surgery may also be necessary if the fragment of bone is large, and the fracture has led to instability within the joint.
A hip or pelvic avulsion fracture can be painful, and the best approach to treatment depends on the severity.
Conservative treatment involves resting, and in some cases, using crutches to put less weight on the affected area.
Ice and some over-the-counter pain relief medication may also help. A small
If a fracture is more serious, involving a bone fragment moving more than
Avulsion fractures in the feet and toes are relatively common. The fifth metatarsal in the foot, which is the bone at the base of the little toe, is particularly vulnerable to fractures if a person twists an ankle.
Treatment usually involves wearing a cast, brace, or walking boot to immobilize the foot. A person should only put as much weight on their foot as is comfortable and use crutches if necessary.
However, severe fractures in this area require surgery.
Sometimes called mallet finger or “baseball finger,” an avulsion fracture in the finger can happen when a fingertip is overextended.
It may not be possible for the person to straighten the tip of their finger without help. The middle, index, and ring fingers are most vulnerable to this type of fracture.
To restore function and prevent stiffness and deformity, a person should receive medical care within 1 week of the fracture.
In children, cartilage involved in bone growth may fracture in this area. Doctors must provide adequate treatment to prevent stunted growth.
Treating an ankle avulsion fracture involves rest and cold therapy. A doctor
If the ankle does not heal naturally, surgery to align it may be necessary.
Usually, an avulsion fracture takes
Until recovery is complete, avoid strenuous physical activity and putting pressure or weight on the affected joint, unless a doctor or physical therapist has recommended weight-bearing exercises.
Can it get worse?
An avulsion fracture can worsen if a person does not follow their treatment guidelines. If someone, for example, overuses the affected joint, removes their splint early, or does not do their physical therapy exercises, their condition
A person should also check in with their doctor throughout the healing process.
Avulsion fractures are
They happen when a bone is moving one way, and a tendon or ligament is suddenly pulled in another direction. Typically, the tendon or ligament attached to part of a bone pulls a fragment of bone away with it.
Avulsion fractures are
- Children: Growth spurts can sometimes contribute to avulsion fractures. The tendons or ligaments around the growth plates may pull hard enough to cause a bone fracture. Children who play sports have the highest risk of these fractures.
- Dancers: Dancers tend to put a lot of pressure on their feet and ankles. Sudden movements and changes in direction increase their risk of avulsion fractures.
- Other athletes: High-impact sports that involve lots of twisting and quick directional changes, such as basketball, can cause avulsion fractures.
The symptoms and signs of an avulsion fracture
- intense, sudden pain
- a popping sound
- trouble moving the bone or joint
- pain when trying to move it
A doctor can diagnose an avulsion fracture by examining the injury and ordering an X-ray.
Sometimes doctors misdiagnose avulsion fractures as muscle strain. As
Misdiagnosis can cause:
- nerve irritation
- chronic pain
- problems walking
Anyone who suspects that they may have an avulsion fracture should receive prompt medical attention.
Avulsion fractures can occur in various locations. The cause is often sudden, twisting movements. If the fracture is minor, using ice packs, NSAIDs, splints or braces, and resting may be enough to treat it. But more severe fractures may require surgery.
A doctor can assess the extent of the injury and recommend the best course of treatment. Physical therapy can help restore strength and mobility in the injured joint.