Fracture in children

Contributed by : Ravina Sewani   
Fracture in children

Children break their bones either by falling or while playing a sport.

Children break their bones either by falling or while playing a sport. Sometimes, an unfortunate accident is also the reason behind fracture. Fractures are of two types: displaced and non-displaced.

Non-displaced fracture is when the broken parts of bone are lined up correctly. This type of fracture is harder to identify.

Displaced fracture is when the broken parts of bone are not lined up.

Symptoms of bone fracture:

  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Snapping noise
  • Numbness: This could be a sign of nerve damage near a break. A change in the colour of his skin could mean the same thing.
  • Can't straighten the injured area
  • Can't move a limb like normal

Diagnosis: A fracture is diagnosed by doctors via X-rays. An X-ray can show where the break is and its type.


Treatment includes the use of cast, splint, or brace. These keep the broken bone from moving while it heals. Even the displaced broken bones often will heal straight over time. For the displaced bones, they are sometimes put back in place before the cast, splint, or brace is put on. This is done through a procedure called a ‘reduction’. This is also called "setting the bone."

There are two types of reductions:

  • Closed reduction: This is done without any incision or cut. The doctor gives a medicine to the child to ease the pain and then moves the bones back into the right position. No incision (cut) is needed.
  • Open reduction: This surgery is done for a more complicated injury. The surgeon makes a cut and moves the bones into the right position. Before this procedure, the doctor will usually give anaesthesia to your child. Surgical plates, screws, or wires might keep the bones in place.

New bone formation may take several weeks to months after a break, but full healing can take much longer time.

While waiting for medical help:

  • Make sure your child is lying down. Then put pressure on the area with a sterile gauze pad or a clean cloth. Don't try to push the bone back into place. Don't wash it.
  • If you can't see the bone, don't move the limb. Try to cut away or remove clothing around the injured area, but do it gently so you don't cause any extra pain.
  • Wrap ice or a cold compress in a cloth and put it on the skin near the injured area. Don't do this in babies and toddlers because cold temperature can hurt their skin.
  • Don't give any food, drink, or medicine to your child in case (s)he needs surgery.

Things to keep in mind post treatment:

  • Make sure that your child eats a healthy diet that includes plenty of calcium and vitamin D.
  • Teach your child to take good care of the cast or splint.
  • Help your child to follow the health care provider's directions for rest and/or doing any exercises.

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