Trauma and Bone Fractures in Children

Although we have made great progress with automobile and sports safety programs, childhood injury remains a common reality. Despite the best efforts of parents, children, from toddlers to adolescents, can get hurt breaking a bone or dislocating a joint.

Boys are generally at a higher risk of traumatic injuries than girls, although there are exceptions. Among recreational injuries, bicycling, basketball, and football are the most common causes of injuries to muscles and bones.

The two most common fractures which occur in children are fractures of the elbow and fractures of the femur. While the vast majority of children with these injuries can go on to have a perfect outcome without any problems in the future, it is important that these fractures are treated quickly and appropriately.

Children are actively growing, which presents both advantages and disadvantages to the treatment of a fracture. On one hand, we can count on remodeling. A certain amount of angulation in a child’s bone will straighten over time as the child grows. However, children have open growth plates at the end of most every bone and if this growth plate is injured there is a risk of the bone stopping growth or not growing straight.

Pediatric orthopedists like Dr. Vitale are specialists in the care of children (age 0-18 years) with injuries to the bones in any part of the body. While surgery is sometimes necessary, many childhood injuries can be treated with casting and close observation.