Children have a lot of energy and are much more physically active than the average adult. They run, jump, play with their friends, and play sports at school. This highly physical lifestyle sometimes causes a broken bone.
Even though children’s bones are more flexible than adults’ bones are – so their bones have excellent shock-absorbing qualities – they are still prone to injury if an impact is severe. When too much force is applied to a bone, or if the force applied is greater than what the bone can absorb, the bone can break. A broken bone is the same thing as a fractured bone.
If a child fractures his or her bone, a careful examination by a pediatric orthopedic surgeon should be done to ensure that the bone heals properly.
Are Bone Fractures Different in Children than in Adults?
Children sometimes experience “greenstick fractures” because these are only partial breaks. Young children’s bones can bend more easily, so they are not as likely to fully break as in adults. They are called “greenstick” because they are like a young green plant that can bend and may break only partially. Compare this to stress fractures, or hairline fractures, which are common in older people particularly because of osteoporosis.
A bone fracture is either open or closed – either the bone breaks through the skin or it doesn’t, respectively. An open fracture is also called a compound fracture, and a closed fracture is also called a simple fracture. Any kind of fracture is more serious in older adults than in children, but an untreated broken bone at any age can become a debilitating injury if the bone does not heal properly.
How Are Broken Bones Diagnosed and Treated?
Diagnosing a bone fracture in children and adults usually requires imaging tests, such as X-rays, along with a physical examination by a doctor. An X-ray will provide important details, such as the extent of the injury and, if the bone is indeed broken, how many fragments the bone has broken into. If the fracture is complex, the doctor may order an MRI or CT scan for further analysis.
Treating bone fractures is done in such a way as to ensure that the bone heals properly and remains in alignment during healing. Simple fractures will require a splint or a cast, and compound fractures may require surgical realignment by using metal rods, pins, plates, and/or screws. The doctor will also prescribe medication for pain relief.
Pediatric Orthopedics in Westlake and Avon, Ohio
If your child has sustained an injury that is causing pain or the inability to move the joint properly, see an orthopedic doctor right away. Getting a quick diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications and ensure that your child does not suffer from excruciating pain or a potentially serious infection.
Here at Orthopaedic Associates, our friendly team of orthopedic specialists knows that every minute counts after an injury. We use the latest in diagnostic tools, including digital X-rays, CT scans, and open MRI machines for a speedy diagnosis and immediate treatment.
To schedule an appointment for your child’s care, call us today at (440) 892-1440 or toll-free at (866) 362-7624, or fill out our online appointment request form. In our clinic, we treat our patients like family – and we will make sure your child recovers quickly.