Normally when bones are fractured new bone tissue begins to form as the fracture heals, allowing the fragments to connect and fuse together again. Sometimes fractured or broken bones do not heal, and instead, pain and instability are felt at the site of the fracture. This is known as non-union. When a fracture does heal but heals in the incorrect position, it is known as malunion.

Treatment of malunion generally requires surgery known as an osteotomy. This is done by re-fracturing the bone to correct ill-positioning and functioning issues related to malunion. For non-union, on the other hand, external electric stimulator or bracing may be done to support proper healing. In some cases, bone grafts are needed to stabilise the fracture and stimulate fusion with fresh bone cells. Internal or external fixation is then needed after bone grafting to ensure the fracture heals in the correct position.

The recovery process and physical therapy needed after healing will vary depending on the severity of the non-union or malunion and the chosen treatment option, but your orthopaedic will discuss this with you prior to surgery.