Common Bone Fractures in Kids and What to Expect 

a young child wearing a red cast over her broken arm

Ok, so little Lucy was on the monkey bars and decided she wanted to try her hand at long-distance jumping, but her hand slipped and she landed wrong. Maybe little Lucy was feeling inspired and tried one of those awesome Tony Hawk skateboarding moves but was not quite as airborne as she thought and kapow! Well, these scenarios are not all that uncommon, as kids often mistake what they see in action movies to reality or are simply being active kids who land incorrectly or fall. If your child is involved in sports or extracurricular activities, this is a common worry, particularly in more contact sports like football. So with hundreds of children suffering from bone fractures and injuries every year, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most common ones and what you can expect as a parent. 

Bone fractures are among the fourth most common injuries among children under six. This may not surprise you. As a parent, you probably know that kids are quite active and often get themselves into trouble. A broken bone, however, is different in a child than it is for an adult. This is because kid bones are more flexible and have a thicker covering. Because of this, they are better able to absorb shock and heal faster. Usually, a child’s bone can heal perfectly without surgical intervention if kept from moving through the use of a molded cast. 

Common Causes for Fractures

In the year of 2012, there were about 5, 550 new fracture visits. Apparently, the most common month for fractures in the month of May. It might have something to do with the incoming summer and kids’ energy as they go outside and play. 

Common Places Where Kid Fractures Occur:

  • Monkey bars
  • Trampoline
  • Scooters
  • Snowboarding
  • sports

Common Bone Fractures Seen:

  • Humerus: The long bone in the upper arm. 
  • Radius: One of the two large bones in the forearm.
  • Ulna: One of the two large bones of the forearm that stretches from the elbow to the smallest finer. 
  • Tibia: One of the two bones that make up the lower leg. 
  • Fibular: Another one of the calf bones on the lateral side of the tibia. 

Type of Fractures

Depending on the nature of the injury, the bone fracture will vary. There are a couple of different types of possible fractures. And just like children’s bones are more malleable and resistant than adult bones, they are also susceptible to other types of complications and fractures. When a child’s bone suffers damage to the growth plate at the ends of the bones, it can cause complications with future growth. So a child’s fracture has to be monitored closely as it heals to ensure that there is no growth damage. 

The “greenstick” fracture. These are types of fractures where the bone bends like green wood and breaks only on one side. 

Torus fracture. This might refer to a bone that is buckled, twisted, or weakened but not completely broken. 

Bend fracture. The name says it all. This refers to a bone that is bent and not entirely broken. 

Complete fracture. Again, the name indicates the nature of it: a completely broken bone. This is the most serious type of injury. 

How To Identify a Broken Bone

Depending on your child’s age, it’s not always clear cut when there is a broken bone. This is because if your child is too young, they might not be able to communicate what they are feeling. So, here are a couple of things to look for: 

  • With a fracture, you will usually see swelling around the area. 
  • Your child will be in clear pain and unable or unwilling to move the area of the injury
  • Bruising and inflammation in the area

Even if your child can move the limb, it doesn’t completely rule out a fracture. That’s why it is important to make your way to your trusted pediatrician’s office so they can properly diagnose the problem. Your doctor will take a look and order X-Rays to assess the severity of the problem. Avoid giving your child any pain meds until they are taken to see a doctor. If your child is a little bit older, you can use a cold pack or cold towel on the affected area in order to ease swelling and help with the pain. If you suspect your child has a broken leg, be careful of moving them yourself. It’s best to avoid movement and let paramedics or the doctor supervise transportation. 

Get a Trusted Pediatrician By Your Side

Diagnosing and monitoring a broken bone is important to avoid further injury, damage, or healing complications. Peds on Demand is here to help your child heal properly from the moment the break happens to when they remove the cast.  If you find yourself with a child suffering a fracture, don’t worry, the proper care will ensure that your child is up and running in no time. A child is incredibly resilient and will heal quite quickly. The important thing is to have the right care with the right level of monitoring and follow-ups to ensure a successful and full recovery.