Fractures - Pediatric

A fracture occurs when too much pressure is put on a bone, causing it to break. Most fractures are a result of injuries from activities, falls, motor vehicle accidents or conditions that weaken the bones, such as osteoporosis. Fractures can cause severe pain and immobility until they receive treatment.


  • Comminuted fracture. Bone broken into three or more parts
  • Displaced fracture. Misaligned bone at the break
  • Growth plate fracture. A break in an adolescent’s developing bone
  • Oblique fracture. Diagonal break in the bone
  • Open (compound) fracture. Broken bone that causes an open wound
  • Transverse fracture. Horizontal break in the bone


  • Broken skin with exposed bone
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Disfigured limb or joint
  • Limited range of motion
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Severe pain
  • Swelling


  • Ensure that children use the proper safety equipment when participating in sports or riding a bike or scooter.
  • Prevent falls by making surroundings as safe as possible. Watch for uneven surfaces, remove obstructions from walkways and keep rooms well lit.

Risk factors

  • Developing bones (children)
  • Overuse from repeated motion
  • Participating in heavy contact sports
  • Trauma, such as from a fall, motor vehicle accident or violence


  • Physical examination. The healthcare provider will discuss symptoms and evaluate the injured area.
  • Imaging. X-rays will show the extent of the injury and damage to the bone. Further imaging, such as an MRI or CT scan, may also be necessary.


  • Fracture reduction. A bone misaligned at the break may need to be repositioned to mend properly.
  • Casting and splinting. Wearing a cast or splint will stabilize the bone as it heals.
  • External fixation. Screws inserted into the broken bone and connected to an external metal bar may be needed to keep bones in place while they heal.
  • Open reduction and internal fixation. This operation uses screws and metal plates or rods to hold the bone together while it repairs.

Follow-up care

  • Avoid stressing the injured area until it has healed.
  • Specialized exercises can help rebuild muscle strength after an injury.
  • Follow up with your child’s healthcare provider to make sure the bone is healing correctly or if any initial symptoms, such as swelling, numbness or heightened pain, recur.


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