July 10, 2019

What is a periarticular fracture?


A periarticular fracture affects the bones that make up the joints throughout the body. The word periarticular means “area surrounding the joint.” The most common joint fractures occur in the legs such as the tibia (shin bone), distal femur (thigh bone) and ankle or in the arms such as the elbow or wrist.

A periarticular fracture is a medical emergency. Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. OrthoIndy Trauma physicians are located at St.Vincent Indianapolis Level I Trauma Center.

What causes a periarticular fracture?

  • High energy impacts such as a car accident
  • Fall from a height at home
  • Injury playing sports
  • Weakening of the bone due to underlying conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis


What are the symptoms of a periarticular fracture?

Joint damage can produce a variety of symptoms that can be caused by various injuries. However, common symptoms of periarticular fractures are similar to any fracture.

  • Pain
  • Joint instability
  • Inflammation of surrounding connective tissue
  • Stiffness in the joint
  • Trouble walking or standing

How do you treat a periarticular fracture?

Treatment for periarticular fractures depends on the severity of the break, the location of the fracture and the cause. Complex periarticular fractures are common due to the network of connective tissue including cartilage, ligaments, tendons and muscles that make up joints within the body. Most commonly, more complex fractures are a result of a twisting motion or fall.

Treatment may require several surgeries depending on the extent of the damage to the joint. This may involve external fixation initially followed by surgical plates and screws or nails to repair the fractured bone. Additional surgery and prolonged treatment may be necessary to repair damage to the connective tissue around the joint.

Learn more about trauma care at OrthoIndy.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000

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