Eleven patients with femoral diaphyseal nonunions after intramedullary nailing were treated with cyclic compression and distraction with an external fixator over the nail. We evaluated the limitations of this technique and whether patients having this closed procedure could achieve union without additional operative procedures. Patients with hypertrophic nonunions (n = 4) were treated with gradual compression of the nonunion site. Cyclic compression and distraction was done in patients with oligotrophic (n = 2) or atrophic nonunions (n = 5) to stimulate consolidation. The average age of the patients was 32.9 years (range, 21-48 years), and the average followup was 40.5 months (range, 24-64 months). Union was achieved in an average of 5.8 months in all patients after one operation and without additional surgical intervention. However, pain necessitating strong analgesic agents and pin-related complications consisting of osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, and pin breakage in the atrophic nonunion group were a major limitation of this technique. Based on our study, the cyclic compression and distraction technique can be used in hypertrophic and oligotrophic nonunions that have failed one or more prior exchange nailings. However, it might not be an option for treatment of patients with atrophic nonunions unless pin-site problems are resolved.