The Hidden Dangers of Ignoring a Fracture

A man with knee pain sitting down clutching his knee

A bone fracture may not feel as painful as a full break, but the dangers of leaving a small crack in your bone untreated can be equally as serious. Despite being a very common orthopedic injury, with over 178 million new cases each year, fractures can quickly snowball into a more extensive and chronic injury without timely intervention and medical treatment.1 While treating your injury at home with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medication can be helpful right after you get injured, you can only achieve complete healing with early intervention from a specialized healthcare provider.

The Dangers of Leaving a Fracture Untreated

If you’re questioning whether or not you should seek care from a medical professional for a potential fracture, the answer is always “yes”. Even for the smallest break, leaving your injured bone untreated can lead to:

  1. Improper healing. When you get a fracture, your bone breaks slightly and moves out of its normal position. While your bone can heal on its own, it may heal improperly and cause a permanent misalignment without a support device such as a cast and brace. This is called a malunion and can cause significant deformities, functional impairments, and pain. Seeking treatment early ensures proper alignment and stabilization, allowing your bone to heal correctly and prevent long-term complications.
  2. Reduced mobility. Untreated fractures can make it painful or difficult to move the affected area, as a malunion or nonunion (when the bone fails to heal altogether) can prolong the injury and cause persistent misalignment, inflammation, and pain. Early intervention can prevent mobility issues and facilitate a complete and effective recovery, restoring a full range of motion and making everyday activities easy and pain-free again.
  3. Chronic pain. A fracture is already painful in and of itself, but this pain can persist and intensify the longer you wait to treat it. Even after the bone is healed, you may experience chronic pain that stems from a malunion, ongoing inflammation, or nerve damage. Early treatment from stabilization devices and ongoing rehabilitative care can alleviate discomfort and accelerate healing, reducing the risk of chronic bone pain.

Great Falls Clinic: Your Trusted Partner for Orthopedic Care

At Great Falls Clinic, we know how important it is to diagnose and treat fractured bones as quickly and effectively as possible. At our Orthopedic Destination Center, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons use the latest diagnostic tools and evidence-based treatments to assess, heal, and restore function for patients with bone fractures. Whether you need a cast, brace, or even surgery, we’ll create a highly personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific injury and health needs, including comprehensive rehabilitation programs to restore strength and mobility. Our orthopedic care team will work with you every step of the way to achieve the best possible functional outcomes.

By providing every step of your fracture repair journey in one location, the Great Falls Clinic orthopedic team can help you avoid the long-term consequences of your injury, so you can get back to the activities you enjoy most.

Ready to schedule a consultation? We look forward to serving you.


  1. Wu, A. M. (2021). Global, regional, and national burden of bone fractures in 204 countries and territories, 1990–2019: A systematic analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. The Lancet, 2(9).