When a bone is completely or partially broken, it is known as a fracture. Fractures in children are injuries to any bone in their body. These range from less serious avulsion injuries – small pieces of bones which have been pulled of – to more severe breaks. Most fractures in children occur commonly in the wrist, forearm or above the elbow.
Fractures in children are different from adult fractures in that if the fracture happens at the end of a bone, then the growth plate of the child maybe be affected, which would not be the case for an adult.
A fracture on any part of the body is usually as a result of a direct blow to that area and can occur due to falls, accidents, missteps or general trauma.
Symptoms of fractures in children include:
- Intense pain
- Swelling of the area in question
- Limited range of motion or mobility
- A limb or joint that seems misshapen
- Bruising or bleeding
- Inability to move a limb or joint
Types of Fractures in Children
There are different types of fractures in children, these include:
Growth plate fractures
Also known as physeal fractures, these are bone fractures that occur on the growth plate, which is weaker than the surrounding bone. If left untreated, there may lead to long-term growth problems.
Also known as impact fractures, these types of fractures occur most commonly in weakened bones. The leading cause of fragility fractures is a low impact fall, or occurring while the child is doing a routine activity. The occurrence of fragility fracture is a symptom of an underlying bone disorder.
These are considered the most common fractures among children and they occur usually on the wrist, especially after the child falls and they try to prevent a complete fall by catching themselves.
Also known as bending deformities, these are bone conditions that occur as a result of bending or curving the affected area. Although there is no physical fracture present, they are still treated as fractures.
These are fractures that occur perpendicular to the bone’s length.
Greenstick fractures in children
These are fractures that occur after one side of the bode breaks while the other side remains intact and can bend. They get their name from being similar to snapping a green twig which is not dry.
These are types of fractures that occur as a result of the bone breaking into more than two pieces.
Diagnosis of Fractures in Children
Children’s fractures are usually diagnosed through x-ray, which confirms the fracture as well as the type, and if it’s a growth plate fracture.
Treatment of Fractures in Children
After a definitive diagnosis of the fracture, a treatment plan is devised. Most of the fractures in children usually need a cast, while others require simple splints to heal. In cases where the bones have broken and are out of place, surgery is required to keep the bones in place using screws, plates, and/or pins. After any of the procedures, pain is usually expected but pain medications are prescribed.
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