Eaton classification of volar plate avulsion injury

This classification was proposed by Eaton and Malerich in 1980, and presently (time of writing, August 2016) along with Keifhaber-Stern classification, is the most widely accepted classification1 of volar plate avulsion injuries

Knowledge of the orthopaedic Eaton classification is practical when reporting volar plate injury as it influence decision on management. Treatment is dependent on the following factors:  

  • size of the fragment (<40% of articular segment)
  • degree of impaction
  • direction of the dislocation
Eaton types
  • Eaton type I: hyperextension mechanism of injury with an avulsion of the volar plate and a longitudinal tear of the collateral ligaments; the opposing joint surface remain congruent
  • Eaton type II: dorsal dislocation of the PIP joint with avulsion of the volar plate; there is complete tear of the collateral ligament
  • Eaton type III
    • Eaton type IIIa
      • fracture dislocation with an avulsed small fragment <40% of articular surface
      • dorsal aspect of the collateral ligament remains attached to the middle phalanx
    • Eaton type IIIb
      • fracture dislocation with fracture or impaction of the articular surface of more than 40%
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Article information

rID: 47254
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Eaton classification
  • Eaton's classification

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