Fractures in Children

Fractures in Children It is not unusual for children to collect a few bumps, scrapes, and bruises as they grow up. While these might be a rite of passage for many parents, some injuries can be quite serious. Almost everyone knows someone who has suffered a fracture as a child if they haven’t broken a bone themselves. Some fractures can be quite serious and all fractures demand medical attention. If fractures aren’t treated quickly, complications can develop.How do Fractures in Children Happen? Like fractures in adults, fractures in children can happen in a number of different ways. In children, two of the most commonly fractured bones are the radius and the ulna. According to a study looking at fractures in over 1000 children, the radius and ulna accounted for close to half of the fractures. These are the two bones that make up the forearm and the wrist. When a child falls, they often extend their hands to try and brace themselves. This is a reflex that is learned to try and protect the internal organs from trauma. Unfortunately, this also places the bones of the wrist in harm’s way. As the force from the fall is transmitted through the hands and into the wrist, these bones can fracture. This same type of mechanism can be applied to numerous bones in the body of a child.What Symptoms Should be Watched For? Many parents would like to know what symptoms they should be looking for that might indicate a fracture in their child. Some of the most common symptoms include:Pain: In older children, they might be able to vocalize that a part of their body hurts. If no obvious cut or scrape is present, a bone fracture could be resting underneath.Swelling: When a bone is broken, the body tries to rush cells to the location of the injury. These cells act to repair the break in the bone. This rush of cells also causes the injury site to swell.Range of Motion: If a bone is broken, it will not move easily. Because the bones have fractured, they will not flex and extend to the same degree. If a parent notices that their child doesn’t want to move a certain limb, this could indicate a bone fracture.How are Fractures in Children Treated? Like any other fracture, the first step is to image the injury. While some fractures could be obvious, it is important to ensure that no other injuries are overlooked. An x-ray or a CT scan could be used to take a picture of the injury site. Once all of the fractures have been identified. It is important to ascertain whether or not surgery is needed. If the bone is out of its proper location, surgery will be needed to put the bone back into place. Once the bone is in place, the injury is placed in a cast. A cast prevents the child from moving the limb. Over a period of a few weeks, the fracture will heal. After this, the cast is removed and the bone should be as good as new.
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