Understanding the Different Types of Pediatric Fractures

Understanding the Different Types of Pediatric Fractures

Children are very resilient, even after they’ve taken a tumble or suffered a fall. While they can usually get right back up, sometimes their injuries do get the best of them. Broken bones, or fractures, are one of the injuries that, unfortunately, are relatively common among children. Luckily, broken bones can be set and usually heal normally.

At Mehling Orthopedics, our team is ready to help your child recover from a fracture, wherever it may be. Our two orthopedic specialists, Dr. Brian Mehling and Dr. Pavel Yufit give your child the fracture care they need for their broken bone.

Signs of a fracture

Fractures occur when one of the bones in your child’s body breaks, usually due to some type of blunt force trauma or other injury. Sports and playground mishaps are common reasons for this type of injury in children.

Because children’s bones are still growing, they’re much different than adult bones. Kids’ bones have a little more “give” than adult bones, so fractures are not usually as severe. However, if your child breaks a bone, it does cause pain in most cases. 

There are other fracture symptoms that you can look for as well, including:

In severe cases of an open fracture, the bone may be sticking out through your child’s skin. In this case, you need to get them emergency care as soon as possible to prevent infection or other complications.

Common fractures among children

Because your child’s bones are different from adult bones, they may suffer from different types of fractures than an adult would. 

Typical children’s fractures include:

Growth plate fractures

A growth plate fracture happens when the soft end of your child’s bone becomes broken. The growth plate is what allows your child’s bones to grow, so these fractures need treatment immediately to keep their bones healthy.

Greenstick fractures

This type of fracture happens when your child’s bone bends and doesn’t actually break. A greenstick fracture leaves a crack on only one side of the bone. This is because your child’s bones are more flexible than an adults. 

Buckle fractures

A buckle fracture is similar to a greenstick fracture, in that the bone bends and doesn’t break the whole way through. However, in a buckle fracture, the side of the bone that cracks bends outward, causing the buckle part of the fracture.

Stress or hairline fractures

Stress fractures occur when there’s repetitive stress put on one of your child’s bones. While the bone doesn’t fully break, it leaves a small crack in the bone. If your child is a gymnast, this type of injury is common. 

Nondisplaced fractures

In this type of fracture, the bone is broken, but doesn’t move out of alignment. This makes it a little easier to treat, because it’s still in its anatomical position.

Getting your child treatment

The treatment your child needs for their fracture is based on the area of the broken bone and its severity. Some fractures only require your child to wear a brace or cast for a few weeks until the bone heals.

Other fractures may need to be reduced before they’re casted. This just means that the broken bone is displaced, and Dr. Mehling or Dr. Yufit needs to set it into place and then put a cast on it to keep it from moving.

In severe fractures that won’t heal properly on their own, your child may need surgery to repair the bone with plates and screws. These appliances help hold the parts of the bone together while the fracture heals. 

If your child has suffered a fracture, don’t hesitate to call one of our offices in Hackensack, New Jersey, or West Islip, New York, to make an appointment with our team.

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