Breaking a bone is common in childhood, but most pediatric fractures present fewer complications than fractures in adults. For urgent care, day or night, when you suspect your child has fractured a bone, contact Ephraim Dickinson, MD and Brieana Brady, PA-C at Urgently Ortho at their San Francisco clinic. Urgently Ortho provides out-of-hours services for all orthopedic injuries, so call them to discuss any musculoskeletal problems, or book online.
Fractures are broken bones and they occur relatively frequently in children, because their bones haven’t matured. When bones are growing they’re softer than adult bones, which helps prevent injury in some cases; children often escape unharmed from situations where adult bones would fracture.
There are four main types of fractures:
Within these are subtypes, including:
There are certain types of fracture that are only seen in children:
The seriousness of a fracture depends on the type of break, with one of the chief concerns being the risk of infection getting into damaged bones.
Your child normally experiences pain that causes them distress and alerts you to the injury. Typical physical symptoms include:
If the fracture is open, you’ll probably see the bone sticking through the skin.
If you suspect your child may have fractured a bone, treat it as a medical emergency. X-rays are the usual diagnostic tool doctors use, although in some cases a CT scan, MRI, or bone scan may be required.
For broken bones to heal correctly, they need to be put carefully back into exactly the right position and held in place during the healing process. The bone-setting process is called reduction, and in children, it’s usual to reposition the bones without surgery, which is called closed reduction.
Serious breaks could need surgical reduction, and open fractures need thorough cleaning and treatment to prevent infection. Following reduction, the affected area is immobilized using a cast or splint to allow the bones and tissues to heal. An important element of the healing process is rehabilitation; regular exercises designed to promote blood flow and reduce healing time.
If your child has an accident or sustains an injury, call Urgently Ortho straight away for specialist orthopedic care.
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