Fractures in Children | Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
Fractures in children are extremely common. It is estimated that from birth to the age of 16 years, 30 to 40% children will have sustained a fracture. Fractures are commoner in boys as compared to girls.
At Pinnacle Orthocentre Hospital, we understand the unique needs of pediatric patients and provide comprehensive treatment for fractures in children.
Our team of experienced orthopedic specialists is dedicated to delivering exceptional care to help children regain their mobility and return to their active lifestyles.
Symptoms of Fractures in Children:
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a fracture in a child is essential for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Common indications of a fracture include:
1-Pain: Children may experience localized pain at the site of the injury, which can worsen with movement or pressure.
2-Swelling and Bruising: Swelling and bruising may occur around the affected area due to soft tissue injury associated with the fracture.
3-Deformity: In some cases, fractures can cause visible deformities, such as an abnormal alignment or angulation of the bone.
4-Limited Mobility: Children may have difficulty moving the affected limb or joint due to pain and instability caused by the fracture.
5-Refusal to Bear Weight: Fractures in the lower extremities may result in the child refusing to bear weight on the injured leg or foot.
Diagnosis of Fractures in Children:
At Pinnacle Orthocentre Hospital, our skilled orthopedic specialists employ various diagnostic techniques to accurately diagnose fractures in children.
The diagnostic process may include:
1-Physical Examination: A thorough physical examination helps assess the range of motion, tenderness, swelling, and deformity associated with the fracture.
2-Imaging Studies: X-rays are commonly used to visualize and confirm the presence of a fracture. In some cases, additional imaging modalities like MRI or CT scans may be recommended for a more detailed assessment.
Treatment of Fractures in Children:
The treatment approach for fractures in children depends on the type, location, and severity of the fracture. At Pinnacle Orthocentre Hospital, we offer comprehensive treatment options tailored to each child’s specific needs.
Treatment methods may include:
1-Casting or Splinting: For stable fractures, casting or splinting is often sufficient to immobilize the bone and promote proper healing.
2-Closed Reduction: In cases where the fracture is displaced, a closed reduction procedure may be performed to realign the bones before immobilization.
3-Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF): In complex fractures, surgical intervention may be required. ORIF involves realigning the bones surgically and using internal fixation devices like plates, screws, or rods to stabilize the fracture.
4-Functional Rehabilitation: Following immobilization, a comprehensive rehabilitation program, including physical therapy and guided exercises, is essential to restore strength, mobility, and function.
5-Ongoing Monitoring: Throughout the treatment process, our orthopedic specialists closely monitor the healing progress through regular follow-up appointments, X-rays, and other diagnostic tests, if necessary.
How are children’s fractures different?
Children are not merely small adults. Children’s bones possess certain unique properties which make children’s fractures different from adult fractures:
Childrens’s bones have growth plates:
One of the most important features of a child’s bone is the presence growth plates (called physes). Growth plate is responsible for the increase in length of bone with growth. Growth plate is seen on X-rays as a radiolucent line at each end of bone.
Fracture can occur through the growth plate. Fracture through the growth plate can occasionally lead to permanent damage to the growth plate. This can lead to a growth arrest which will lead to shortening of the bone (limb length discrepancy) and/ or deformity.
Children’s bones are more elastic:
Children’s bones are more elastic (have greater modulus of elasticity). This means they can bend to a greater degree before breaking. This leads to unique and incomplete fractures in children. Torus fractures, greenstick fractures and plastic deformations are incomplete fracture patterns unique to children.
Torus fracture is an incomplete fracture seen in children typically less than 5 years age. It occurs when a compression force is applied along the long axis of the bone. The bone fractures at the cortex under compression. This is a stable fracture. The child may not experience significant pain and swelling, so the fracture may be detected after an interval of a few days. Since this is a stable fracture, rigid cast immobilisation is not mandatory. Treatment mainly focuses on pain relief.
Greenstick fracture is a type of incomplete fracture which occurs when a bending force is applied to a bone. The fracture occurs at the cortex under tension while the opposite cortex remains intact. Greenstick fractures need to be reduced to correct the angulation, following which a plaster cast is applied to maintain the reduction.
Plastic deformation is a type of bone in which the bone is bent, but there is no fracture line visible on X-rays. At microscopic level, these injuries are characterised by discontinuity between osteon units of bone. If the deformity is significant and/ or the restriction of motion is significant (which can occur especially in forearm fractures), plastic deformation needs to be reduced and casted.
Unique properties of Children’s fractures:
Remodelling is a unique characteristic of child’s bone. Remodelling implies correction of bony angulation at fracture site after healing.
Remodelling occurs to a greater extent in:
- Younger children remodel to a greater extent than older children.
- Remodelling occurs to a greater extent if the angulation is in the plane of motion of the adjacent joint.
Fractures in children require specialized care, and at Pinnacle Orthocentre Hospital, we provide comprehensive treatment options to ensure optimal healing and recovery.
Our experienced orthopedic specialists are dedicated to delivering the highest quality of care to children with fractures, helping them regain their mobility, alleviate pain, and return to their normal activities.
If your child has a fracture, trust the expertise of Pinnacle Orthocentre Hospital for personalized and compassionate treatment.