Fractures in Children
A fracture is a partial or complete
break in the bone. When a fracture happens, it is either open or closed.
Open (compound) fracture. The bone breaks through the
skin. Or the skin has a deep wound that exposes the bone.
Closed (simple) fracture. The bone is broken, but there is
no wound in the skin.
Fractures happen when more force is applied to the bone than the bone
can absorb. Bones are weakest when they are twisted. Breaks in bones can happen from
overuse injuries, falls, trauma, or a direct hit to the body.
Symptoms can occur a bit
differently in each child. Below are the most common symptoms if your child breaks
- Obvious deformity of the bone
- Trouble using or moving the bone in a
- Warmth, bruising, or redness
These symptoms may seem like other
health problems. Make sure your child sees their healthcare provider for a
Your child’s healthcare provider
makes the diagnosis with an exam and diagnostic tests. During the exam, you will be
asked about your child’s health history and how the injury happened.
Your child may also need:
X-rays. This test makes images of internal tissues, bones,
MRI. This test uses a combination of large magnets, radio
waves, and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures within the
CT scan. This test uses X-rays and a computer to make
detailed images of the body. A CT scan shows details of the bones, muscles, fat, and
organs. The test is more detailed than general X-rays.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also
depend on how severe the condition is.
An open fracture is an emergency.
This is when the bone breaks through the skin. Or when the skin has a deep wound that
exposes the bone. Call 911 or your local emergency number to get medical help right
The goal of treatment is to control the pain, help the bone heal, and prevent complications
so your child can use the fractured area again normally. Treatment may include:
Splint or cast. This keeps the broken bone in place while
Medicine. Certain medicines can help ease pain.
Traction. This treatment gently stretches the muscles and
tendons around the broken bone to allow the bone ends to align and heal. It uses
pulleys, strings, weights, and a metal frame attached over or on the bed.
Surgery. Your child may need surgery to put certain types
of broken bones back into place. Sometimes the surgeon puts metal rods or pins inside
the bone or outside the body to hold the bone pieces in place. This helps them heal
in the correct position.
- A fracture is a partial or complete break in the bone.
- A fracture happens when more force is
applied to the bone than the bone can absorb. It can happen from overuse injuries,
falls, trauma, or a direct hit to the body.
- A child with a broken bone may have pain, swelling, and trouble moving the injured
- Treatment may include a cast or splint, pain medicine, or surgery.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
- Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.
- Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
- At the visit, write down the name of a
new diagnosis and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new
instructions your provider gives you for your child.
- Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child.
Also know what the side effects are.
- Ask if your child’s condition can be treated in other ways.
- Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
- Know what to expect if your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
- If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose
for that visit.
- Know how you can contact your child’s
provider after office hours. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have
questions or need advice.