We investigated the effects of the antioxidant alpha-tocopherol on early- and late-phase fracture healing in a rat model. Sixty male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized into two groups. The right tibia of each rat was fractured manually under anaesthesia, and fracture sites fixed with intramedullary Kirschner wires. The alpha-tocopherol group received 20 mg/kg alpha-tocopherol intraperitoneally; the control group received intraperitoneal saline injections. Ten rats from each group were sacrificed on day 15, day 45 and day 60. In the alpha-tocopherol group, malondialdehyde concentrations, a measure of lipid peroxidation associated with oxygen free radicals, were significantly decreased on day 15 and day 45 compared with the control group, but had regained the 15-day value on day 60. On histopathological and radiological assessment, fracture healing on day 60 was significantly more advanced in the alpha-tocopherol group. We conclude that alpha-tocopherol has a positive effect on both early and late-phase fracture healing, and may be beneficial in clinical fracture cases.