Broken Bone Around a Joint

A periarticular fracture occurs when a bone breaks inside or around a joint. In addition to the fracture, this type of break can also damage joint tissues and the cartilage on the ends of the affected bones.

Periarticular fractures most often affect the bones that make up the joints located in your legs and arms, including the shin, thigh or ankle bone in your leg and elbow or wrist in your arm. The knee is a common location for a periarticular fracture. These injuries are typically caused by a high-energy impact, like a car accident or fall from a significant height. Osteoporosis or arthritis and its associated bone loss and weakness may also lead to periarticular fractures, particularly in older individuals.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

The symptoms of periarticular fractures differ according to their severity and location. Common symptoms include:

  • Intense pain
  • Joint instability and stiffness
  • Swelling and inflammation in the surrounding tissues
  • Difficulty or inability moving the affected limb

Diagnosis for periarticular fractures includes:

  • Physical exam
  • X-rays
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan

Periarticular fractures may damage your cartilage, which can make you more prone to arthritis. These injuries almost always require surgical treatment for the best results. Treatment by orthopaedic specialists, including surgeons and rehabilitation experts, can help you regain maximum function and movement.

Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Penn State Health includes the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, ranked as one of the best orthopaedic providers in the country by U.S. News & World Report. This honor was earned because our doctors consistently deliver exceptional patient care and outcomes through advanced treatments, translational research and provider training.

Innovative Care for Complex Challenges

Penn State Health offers innovative, leading-edge care for complex conditions like periarticular fractures. Our team of experts uses a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to offer a wide range of care that includes orthopaedics, chronic pain management and therapy services to improve your body’s function and movement.

We specialize in the treatment and management of the most challenging fractures, limb salvage and restoration of function following orthopaedic trauma. We are a regional resource for complex orthopaedic trauma reconstruction cases.

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