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Pediatric Orthopaedics

Pediatric Fractures

Fractures are common in children, partly due to children’s very active behavior. Fractures are different in children compared to adults because of the presence of growth plates, which consist of cartilage cells that eventually transform into solid bone as the child grows.

Children with growth-plate fractures may complain of pain and localized tenderness over the growth plate. There may or may not be any swelling or an obvious deformity. Clinical examination and X-rays are required for diagnosis of a growth-plate fracture.

Other types of fractures

  • Torus/Buckle fracture: A torus or buckle fracture is one of the most common fractures that occur in children. This fracture is caused by end-to-end compression of the bone, which results in buckling of the sides of the bone.
  • Greenstick fracture: This fracture, which is unique to children, involves a bending of one side of the bone without a complete break in the bone.
  • Toddler fractures occur in young children when there is injury to the tibia (shin bone). This fracture may not be clearly evident on an X-ray.
  • Nursemaid elbow occurs when there is displacement of one of the bones in the elbow joint.


Fractures may take several weeks to months to heal completely. Your doctor may recommend that children limit their activities, even after the removal of the cast or brace, until the bone becomes solid enough to bear the stress.

  • duke-john-kelly
  • American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Orange County Medical Association