Pediatric Orthopaedics: Childhood Fractures

January 31, 2019

Did you know that distal radius fractures are the most common type of fractures in children? This injury usually results from a simple fall and ends with a broken wrist. From childhood sports to playing on the school playground, it’s easy for injuries to occur in adolescence. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the most common childhood fractures, their symptoms, and how they can best be treated to ensure that your child is not only safe, but recovers quickly as well.

Distal Radius Fractures 

The radius is the larger of the two bones located in the forearm, and the end toward the wrist is the distal end. When the radius breaks near the wrist, it is considered a distal radius fracture. This is the most common broken bone in the arm, and it is most likely to occur from falling onto an outstretched arm.

One way to prevent this fracture is wearing wrist guards when playing sports, as this will help lessen the impact of a fall. When a distal radius fracture occurs, it can cause immediate pain, swelling and bruising, and will likely result in the wrist hanging in an odd or bent way.

There are several care options for this injury, but the treatment depends on many factors, like the nature of the fracture, the patient’s age and activity level, as well as the physician’s personal preferences.

Clavicle Fractures

A clavicle fracture is when a break occurs in the collarbone. This typically takes place when a fall onto the shoulder or outstretched arm puts excess pressure on the bone, causing it to snap or break.

Not only is this injury painful, but it can also make it difficult to move the arm. Symptoms to look out for are the sagging of the shoulder, bruising or swelling of the collarbone, and the inability to lift the arm because of pain. Most broken collarbones can heal on their own, but an arm sling may be used for comfort and to keep the arm and shoulder in position while the injury heals.

Femur Fractures

The femur, also known as the thighbone, is the longest bone in the body. It is also the strongest bone, which makes it even harder to break. This bone usually breaks from a high-energy collision or fall from heights.

There are several types of femur fractures. These types vary depending on the force that causes the break, as well as the location of the fracture, the pattern of the fracture, and whether the skin and muscle over the bone is torn from the injury.

Femur fractures will cause immediate and severe pain, and it will be difficult to put weight on the broken leg. This injury typically requires surgery to heal, and oftentimes, young children will be treated with a cast.

If you experience any of these fractures, it is recommended that you see a physician in order to recover and return to an active, healthy lifestyle as soon as possible.

This article was adapted from Ortho Info.

If you have any questions about childhood fractures, please contact Campbell Clinic to meet with a physician.


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