The active child is always at risk of breaking a bone. It can happen so suddenly that it takes the child by surprise. Some fractures cause little pain or swelling. As a parent, you'll need to be aware when a fracture may have happened and how to deal with it. Some fractures cause few problems while others can affect your child's development. Here are the typical types of fractures seen in children, why they can impact your child's growth, and what to do when your child has one.
Fractures and Your Child's Development
Your child's long bones grow outward from special areas on the ends of the bones called growth plates. These are areas of rapid cell production that maintain your child's growth rate. If the plates are damaged by a fracture, growth from them can be disrupted. The growth of that bone slows down and can even stop. Your child may end up with different arm or leg lengths because of injury to a growth plate.
The orthopedics doctor will carefully evaluate any broken bone to determine if the growth plate was damaged. If that happens, surgery may be required to repair the growth plate so that normal development of the bone can resume.
Types of Childhood Fractures
Greenstick fracture - Like its name suggests, this fracture occurs as if a green stick was bent. The bone cracks on one side but bends on the other. The bone may break and snap back into place. Wrap a towel loosely around the arm or leg to support it and take your child in to the emergency room for evaluation. A small cast or removable brace is applied to hold the bone in place while it heals.
Spiral fracture - This occurs when the arm or leg undergoes a twisting motion which cracks the bone in a spiral pattern. The bone normally stays intact, like the greenstick fracture. Again, light support of the limb is needed for the trip to the emergency room.
Simple complete fracture - If the bone breaks all of the way through and the arm or leg is deformed, wrap the limb in a towel and secure it to something rigid, such as a stick, board or rolled up magazine, so the limb is braced and cannot move. This fracture may have soft tissue wedged in between the bone fragments, preventing them from easily being set back into place. Surgery may be required to clear the obstruction and secure the ends of the bones together. Once the bone is set, a cast keeps it in place while it heals.
Compound fracture - In addition to a complete break, this fractures causes the bones to break through the skin. This increases the risk of infection. Place a clean cloth over the wound to prevent dirt from getting into it. Wrap the arm or leg with a towel and stiff brace to prevent the bone from moving and causing more damage. Surgery may be needed to clean out the wound and secure the bone fragments together with metal plates and screws.
Contact a business, such as Northern Care Inc Prosthetics & Orthotics, for more information.