96 London Road

Widley, Waterlooville, PO7 5AB

02392 215 050

Call today to book

Spotlight on

non-union fractures

It's all about getting the results you deserve

Most broken bones heal without any problems. After initial treatment, usually new bone tissue forms and connects the broken bone pieces together. However, in some patients some fractures do not heal despite medical treatment. A non-union fracture, also known as a non-healing fracture, occurs when a broken or fractured bone does not heal in the expected period of time.

The expected healing time for each bone can vary – for example, the forearm bones are expected to fully heal in 3-4 months, whereas the thigh bone can take anywhere from 6-12 months. In general, we consider the possibility of a non-union fracture if there is no sign of healing around 6-9 months after the fracture occurs.

What Causes A Non-Union Fracture?

There are a number of different causes as to why a fracture may not heal correctly. Causes for non-union fracture include:

  • Infection at the site of the fracture
  • Inadequate blood supply to the bone
  • Separation of the ends of the bone (during surgery or after surgery)
  • Inadequate surgical stabilisation of the bone

Where Can You Get A Non-Union Fracture?

While non-unions can occur in any bone, the most common bones in which non-union fractures can occur are the tibia, humerus, talus, and fifth metatarsal bone.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Non-Union Fracture?

Most patients will report the following symptoms in a non-union fracture:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Instability
  • Limb or joint deformity
  • Difficulty bearing weight

What Are The Types Of Non-Union Fractures?

There are generally 3 types of non-union fractures observed:

  • Hypertrophic: caused by a lack of stability in the fixation used.
  • Atrophic: caused by inadequate immobilisation and inadequate blood supply
  • Eutrophic: caused by a combination of factors.

How Is A Non-Union Fracture Diagnosed?

As part of your hospital visit, you will undergo the following in order to diagnose a non-union fracture:

  • Physical examination
  • Medical history taking
  • X-rays
  • CT scan

An x-ray in particular is useful to help diagnose a non-union fracture. The x-ray will be analysed to look for any signs of union, bone instability, broken metalwork and lucency around the metalwork.

So, how can we help? 

Fractures often heal well, but they can also come with treatable complications such as joint stiffness, muscle weakness, issues with tendons and damage to your nerves.

Effective physiotherapy often involves spending more time treating the injured soft tissues than the fracture itself. The doctors whose primary concern is to manage your fracture can unfortunately overlook these.

An expert musculoskeletal physiotherapy assessment can identify and treat many complications, helping to restore your normal range of movement, strength and function as quickly as possible.

Our expert physiotherapists also have the use of effective evidence based modalities such as shockwave therapy and regenerative therapy which stimulates the body’s own healing mechanism to heal tendon problems.

What should I expect from my rehabilitation?

Your treatment will depend very much on the problems identified during your initial assessment, but may include a mixture of the following:

  • Soft tissue manual therapy, particularly to manage oedema, swelling and trigger points
  • Scar management if you had surgery to fix the fracture
  • Stretching exercises to regain joint range of movement, and optimise muscle length and tone
  • Manual therapy and mobilisations to the joints to assist you in regaining good movement at the joints around the break
  • Structured and progressive strengthening regime
  • Balance and control work and gait (walking) re-education where appropriate
  • Return to sport preparatory work and advice where required.

Our team has a well-equipped gym with state of the art equipment. This equipment enables the team to rehabilitate you faster but more importantly effectively, with the aim of reducing any down time.

For those patients that are non-weight bearing for a period of time we also have an aquatic therapy pool. This means you can continue exercising to increase muscle strength, balance, flexibility and your cardiovascular system even in the presence of any weight-bearing restrictions.

Booking your assessment & consultation couldn’t be easier:

Get In touch

Send a message to us, and we’ll get right back to you

Sue Wooster

Lead Receptionist

Susan (Sue), Receptionist; welcomes clients and co-ordinates appointments.

Sue has been with The Physiotherapy Centre team for a year now, previously 14 years with Portsmouth City Council as Business Support Officer.

In her spare time Sue loves to walk and has completed marathons: Moonlight Walk and Blenheim Palace, Abseiled Spinnaker Tower and did a Tandem 10,000 ft parachute jump; all for good causes.

She works on the adage ‘use it or lose it’ when it comes to physical health.

Every day is different, and meeting so many people and sharing their experiences is a privilege and inspiration.

Prof. Elizabeth Barley


I am a Health Psychologist, Practitioner Psychologist and Registered General Nurse, working in private practice. I am a trained listener, therapist, mindfulness teacher and mentor.

I am a specialist in:

  • Helping people to cope with anxiety, depression, illness and with other life stresses.
  • Helping people to make lasting lifestyle changes.
  • Helping people to live well with illness.

I can help you to:

  • manage troublesome emotions such as depression, anxiety or stress
  • explore the emotional impact of life changes such as illness, disability or loss
  • cope with difficult symptoms, such as fatigue, pain, breathlessness, palpitations, menopause
  • adjust to living with illness, including cancer, long term conditions or health conditions without a clear medical diagnosis
  • make, and stick with, healthy life choices such as eating healthily, exercising and reducing alcohol intake
  • manage your time, work or studies better
  • explore what matters and how to change things for the better

Jeannette Small

MSK & Adolescent Practitioner

Jeannette graduated from Brunel University in 2003. She worked in the NHS for nearly 20 years before joining the team at The Physiotherapy Centre in January 2023. She has experience of assessing and treating a wide variety of MSK conditions in both adults and adolescents (12-18 year olds). She is a member of The Health and Care Professions Council (PH64711), The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists and The Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists (069415).

Jeannette was a very keen gymnast growing up, she coached for many years and she still loves to throw herself upside down when she gets the chance. She has had physiotherapy treatment following injuries of her own so is very aware of how debilitating it is physically and mentally. She is very aware that activity in childhood is extremely important to ensure good health into adulthood therefore Jeannette is passionate about supporting and guiding her patients back to activity in the safest way possible.

Jeannette has 2 young children so when she’s not working most of her time is spent running around after them. She loves to spend her time with family and friends and she is willing to try her hand at any activities.

Laura Holdway

Community & Home Practitioner

Laura, Community and Orthopaedic Physiotherapist, visits clients in their homes to provide rehabilitation at an early stage and specialises in treating Orthopaedic conditions.

Laura, who graduated from the University of Brighton in 2006, is delighted to return to The Physiotherapy Centre after spending the past 15 years within NHS acute hospitals. Prior to this current role, Laura was a Trauma and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy Team Leader managing a team of 12 people and leading with trauma management for the Trust.

Laura has a long-standing interest in the rehabilitation of those who have suffered a fractured hip as this type of debilitating injury can have such a negative effect on individuals’ lives. She enjoys the challenge of ensuring each client can achieve their optimal outcome and empowering them to take control over their recovery.

Outside of work, Laura enjoys spending time with her family; playing games, baking and going for walks with their cocker spaniel, Teddy. She likes to keep herself fit with different exercise classes and enjoys gardening to relax.

Cameron Hawley

Sports Therapist

Cameron, Sports Therapist, works with injury diagnosis, management and rehabilitation, with sport and non sports based injuries.  Cameron has only just started working with us, before joining us he worked in multiple private clinics, and working as a massage therapist most recently. Alongside this Cameron spent time in the NHS working at Petersfield community Hospital.

Cameron graduated from the University of Chichester with a BSc (Hons) in Sports Therapy, outside of sports therapy Cameron volunteered in the NHS as a non clinical vaccinator and helped with providing covid vaccinations.

Cameron is a keen sports player, playing football in his spare time on the weekend along with other sports like tennis and occasionally golf, alongside training regularly Cam understands the injuries that occur with an active lifestyle and understands how to work around and with these injuries.

Cameron believes in working to make a client happy and healthy within their body and helping teach to develop an understanding of their body and help develop confidence and knowledge to go about life without fear of injury or settling for pain.

hannah gray

Practice Manager

Hannah oversees the day to day running of the Practice with the help of the amazing admin team.

Hannah has been with the company for 7 months and prior to this she spent 5 year as a practice manager in the dental industry. Hannah has completed various courses in customer service and administration and is keen on streamlining business processes.

In Hannah’s spare time she is a Mother of 4 Children and loves days out and trips away with the family.

Hannah enjoys seeing the clients make progress in the centre and believes this is all down to the fantastic therapists we have who put their heart and soul into giving the best possible care.

Patrick sanford

Marketing & Sales Director

Patrick handles all the pretty stuff and things that make people notice us.  He has been with the company for around 10 years now. Prior to that, he spent 20 years as marketing manager at a bakery in Brighton – not putting the holes in the doughnuts! 

To his great surprise Patrick graduated from Luton University with a B.A. in Business & Marketing.  In his spare time, Patrick is a keen mountain biker and enjoys listening to great music (so he says).  He believes that challenges make life interesting, but overcoming those challenges makes life meaningful.

As a final word, Patrick is obsessed with ensuring that all our awesome clients receive the highest level of service and care and safest possible environment.