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Avulsion Fracture

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 6, 2023.

An avulsion fracture is when a small piece of bone breaks and pulls away from a larger bone. Part or all of the piece may break away.


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • Your cast cracks or is damaged.
  • The pain in your injured limb gets worse even after you rest and take medicine.
  • The skin, toes, or fingers of your injured limb become swollen, cold, or blue.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have numbness or tingling in your hand or foot below your cast.
  • You cannot move your fingers or toes below the cast.
  • You have new sores or redness around your cast or splint.
  • You have new or worsening trouble moving your injured limb.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • Limit activity as directed. Get plenty of rest while your fracture heals. When the pain decreases, begin normal, slow movements. Slowly start to do more each day. Rest when you feel it is needed.
  • Apply ice on your injury for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Elevate your injured limb above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your injured limb on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
  • Use support devices as directed. You may need to use crutches or a walker until your fracture heals. Ask for more information about how to use these walking devices if needed.

Bathing with a cast or splint:

If you have a cast or splint, it is important not to get it wet. Before bathing, cover the cast or splint with a plastic bag. Tape the bag to your skin above the cast or splint to seal out the water. Hold your arm or leg away from the water in case the bag leaks. Ask when it is okay to take a bath or shower.

Cast or splint care:

  • Check the skin around the cast or splint every day.
  • Do not push down or lean on any part of the cast or splint because it may break.
  • Do not use a sharp or pointed object to scratch your skin under the cast or splint.

Physical therapy:

A physical therapist may teach you exercises to strengthen your injured limb once the pain is gone.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

You will need to return for more tests to see how well your fracture is healing. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright Merative 2023 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.