Growth Plate Injuries in Children
Though anybody can injure or fracture a bone, children are susceptible to another type of skeletal injury – growth plate injuries. Just as their name suggests, these are injuries at the growth plate in not-fully-developed bone, where tissue forms at the ends of long bones in children.
Until a person’s skeleton is fully matured, every long bone in the body has a growth plate at each end. When a person is finished growing, that plate is replaced by solid bone.
Because growth plates are weaker than surrounding bone, and are even weaker than the ligaments and tendons that surround them, they are especially susceptible to injury.
These injuries are twice as likely to happen in males as females, because females’ bodies mature faster than males’, meaning their growth plates become solid bone at a younger age.
The most common locations for growth plate injuries are:
Growth Plate Injury Testing and Diagnosis
In most cases, the team of physicians here at Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine use an X-ray to determine whether a growth plate injury is present or not. In some circumstances, additional testing through use to computerized tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be utilized.
Growth Plate Injury Treatment
Specific treatment will depend on the location and severity of the growth plate injury. Typically, when a fracture is present, we will apply a cast or splint to the affected area.
In a small number of cases however, one of our specialists will need to return the bones to their proper positions for them to heal correctly. This may be done via surgery or by hand. Once the bones are positioned correctly, they will be able to heal inside a cast with no movement.
After a growth plate injury, your child will receive the finest follow-up care from their orthopaedic specialist, who will ensure the injury is healing correctly and take any necessary measures to resolve issues along the way.
If you think your child has sustained a growth plate injury, you may request an appointment online or call us at (904) 825-0540.
Casey McClone, MD
Board Certifications in Family Medicine and Sports Medicine. Dr. McClone specializes in treating musculoskeletal pain for patients of all ages with ultra-sound guided injections.