Kids love to play hard, and regular physical activity has plenty of benefits. Unfortunately, playing often goes hand in hand with injuries, including fractures.
As many as 50% of boys and 40% of girls have at least one fracture during childhood, and up to 25% have more than one. While fractures aren’t a minor injury, many of them heal without causing future problems.
But when a fracture happens in a growth plate, it can be a different story.
At Nevada Orthopedic & Spine Center, our team offers comprehensive, state-of-the-art care for fractures, including growth plate fractures. Our Fast Track Clinic is equipped to provide same-day urgent care services, including fracture treatment, for children in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada.
As a parent of an active child, you want to be as prepared as possible when injuries arise. Here’s what you should know about growth plate fractures and the importance of getting specialized treatment.
Growth plate fractures: the basics
You know your child is growing and getting taller, but do you know how that process is happening? Growth plates are a big reason.
Located at the ends of bones, growth plates are where bone growth actively occurs. During your child’s growth and development phase, growth plates are soft, hardening by the time your child’s growth stops (typically sometime in the teen years).
Since growth plates play a big role in your child’s musculoskeletal development, it makes sense that if one of the plates is broken, it can have an impact on how your child grows.
If a growth plate fracture isn’t treated promptly and properly, it could cause a deformity in the bone or it could cause that bone to stop growing, leaving one limb shorter than it should be.
Symptoms of growth plate fractures
Growth plate fractures can occur in many different bones, but they tend to happen most often in the arms, legs, and fingers. The most common symptoms include:
- Persistent pain and tenderness
- Increased pain when putting weight or pressure on the limb
- Swelling or warmth near a joint
- Persistent limp
Like other fractures, growth plate fractures typically happen after a fall, sports or car accident, or another type of impact to the bone. Less often, growth plate fractures are the result of repetitive use, such as strenuous sports training.
Treating growth plate fractures
Treatment for growth plate fractures depends on:
- How the bone is fractured
- Which bone is fractured
- If there are other injuries present
- If the ends of the bone are displaced
- The child’s age and health
Many growth plate fractures heal with a cast that immobilizes the bone. Frequent follow-up visits ensure the bone continues to heal properly.
More severe injuries require surgery, including fractures where the bone ends are out of alignment. During the procedure, the bone pieces are held together with pins, screws, or wires. We apply a cast after surgery to protect the area and keep it immobilized while it heals.
Because growth plate fractures can interfere with normal bone development, every type of treatment involves close follow-up care until healing is complete.
Pediatric orthopedics specialist
Growth plate fractures aren’t the only childhood injury that needs specialized orthopedic care. As leading pediatric orthopedics specialists in Las Vegas and Henderson, our team at Nevada Orthopedic & Spine Center offers state-of-the-art care tailored to the unique needs of growing children.
To learn more about fracture care and our Fast Track Clinic, book an appointment online or over the phone today.