are the softer parts of a child’s bones, where growth occurs. Located at each end of a bone, they regulate and determine the length and shape of the mature bone. They are the weakest link in a child’s developing skeleton – sometimes even weaker than surrounding ligaments and tendons. Because they are so fragile, an injury that would result in a minor joint sprain for an adult can cause a growth plate fracture in a child.
Growth plate injuries
typically occur when a child has a fall, a twisting injury or other traumatic event. Monkey bars are a common source of injury. Symptoms include severe pain that doesn’t go away and an inability to move, or put weight on, the affected area.
When kids get injured
, it's important to have them evaluated
, no matter how minor the symptoms. Many wrist and hand fractures don't hurt and don't swell too much, but clinical evaluation and x-rays will help direct the correct treatment. Frequently, the growth plates are injured, and prompt treatment helps prevent long-term consequences. Have fun and be safe with sports and on the playground, but come in to see us if a mishap occurs!
about growth plate injuries in an article in the fall issue of Commonwealth Orthopaedics
Daniel Thompson, MD
, practices in our Alexandria and Springfield offices.