The more difficult kids play, the harder they fall. The fact is, broken bones, or fractures, prevail in youth and typically occur when kids are playing or participating in sports.
Understanding Broken Bones in Children
The majority of fractures affect the upper extremities: the wrist, the lower arm, and above the elbow. Why? When kids fall, it’s a natural reflex for them to throw their hands out in an attempt to stop the fall.
Many kids will have a broken bone at some point. Many aren’t too huge of an offer, but fractures can be scary for kids and parents alike. Here’s what to anticipate.
How Do I Know if It’s Broken?
Falls are a common part of childhood, but not every fall results in a damaged bone. The classic signs of a fracture are pain, swelling, and deformity (which looks like a bump or change in shape of the bone). Nevertheless, if a break is non-displaced (when the pieces on either side are straight in line with one another), it might be harder to inform.
Some indicators that a bone is broken are:
- You or your child heard a snap or a grinding sound during the injury.
- There’s swelling, bruising, or inflammation around the injured part.
- It hurts for your child to move it, touch it, or press on it; if the leg is hurt, it’s painful to bear weight on it.
- The hurt part looks deformed. In severe breaks, the broken bone might poke through the skin.
What Do I Do?
If you believe that your child has a fracture, you should look for treatment right away.
If your child has either of the following, do stagnate your child and call 911 for emergency care:
- your child may have seriously injured the head, neck, or back
- the damaged bone comes through the skin. Apply continuous pressure with a clean gauze pad or thick cloth, and keep your child resting up until aid shows up. Don’t clean the wound or push in any part of the bone that’s protruding.
For less serious injuries, try to support the injury as quickly as it happens by taking these fast actions:
- Remove clothing from around the hurt part. Don’t force a limb out of the clothes, however. You may have to cut clothing off with scissors to prevent your child from having actually unnecessary added pain.
- Use a cold compress or ice pack covered in cloth. Do not put ice straight on the skin.
- Place a makeshift splint on the injured part by:
- keeping the injured limb in the position you discover it
- placing soft padding around the injured part
- positioning something firm (like a board or rolled-up newspapers) next to the hurt part, ensuring it’s long
- enough to go past the joints above and listed below the injury
- keeping the splint loosely in place with first-aid tape or a wraparound bandage
4. Get medical care right now, and don’t allow the child to eat, in case surgery is needed.
Different Types of Fractures
A doctor might be able to tell whether a bone is broken merely by looking at the hurt area. However the doctor will purchase an X-ray to verify the fracture and determine what type it is.
Reassure your child that, with a little perseverance and cooperation, getting an X-ray to look at the broken bone will not take long. Then, he or she will be well on the way to getting a cool– maybe even vibrant– cast that friends can sign.
For youngsters who may be scared about getting an X-ray, it can help to discuss the process like this: “X-rays don’t injured. Doctors use a special machine to take a picture to take a look at the inside of your body. When the image comes out, it will not appear like the ones you take with your video camera. Doctors understand how to take a look at these images to see things like damaged bones.”
A fracture through the growing part of a child’s bone (called the development plate) might not show up on an X-ray. If this type of fracture is suspected, the doctor will treat it even if the X-ray does not show a break.
Because their bones are softer and more likely to bend than break in half, kids are more likely to have insufficient fractures (fractures that go partially through the bone). Common incomplete fracture types include:
- buckle or torus fracture: one side of the bone flexes, raising a little buckle, without breaking the opposite
- greenstick fracture: a partial fracture in which one side of the bone is broken and the opposite bends (this fracture resembles what would occur if you attempted to break a stick that had just been cut from a tree).
Fully grown bones are more likely to break entirely. A more powerful force will also lead to a complete fracture of more youthful bones. A total fracture might be a:
- closed fracture: a fracture that does not break the skin.
- open (or compound) fracture: a fracture where completions of the damaged bone break through the skin (these have actually an increased risk of infection).
- non-displaced fracture: a fracture in which the pieces on either side of the break line up.
- displaced fracture: a fracture where the pieces on either side of the break are out of line (which might need the doctor to straighten the bones or need surgery to make sure the bones are properly aligned prior to casting).
Other common fracture terms consist of:
- hairline fracture: a thin break in the bone.
- single fracture: the bone is broken in one place.
- segmental: the bone is broken in two or more locations in the very same bone.
- comminuted fracture: the bone is broken into more than two pieces or squashed.
Getting a Splint
The doctor may decide that a splint is all that’s needed to keep the bone from moving so it can recover. Whereas a cast surrounds the whole broken area and will be eliminated by the doctor when the bone is recovered, a splint usually supports the damaged bone on one side.
When the doctor places on a splint, a layer of cotton goes on first. Next, the splint is positioned over the cotton. A splint might be made of stiff pieces of plastic or metal or can be formed out of plaster or fiberglass to fit the hurt area conveniently. Then cloth or straps (which typically have Velcro) are used to keep the splint in location. The doctor might need to adjust the splint later.
Getting a Cast
A lot of damaged bones will need a cast to keep the bone from moving so it can recover. A cast is essentially a huge bandage with two layers– a soft cotton layer that rests versus the skin and a tough external layer that avoids the broken bone from moving.
Casts for broken bones usually are made of either:
- plaster of paris: this heavy white powder forms a thick paste that hardens rapidly when combined with water. Plaster of paris casts are much heavier than fiberglass casts and don’t hold up as well in water. They are typically used when the strongest hold is required.
- synthetic (fiberglass) product: these casts be available in numerous intense colors and are lighter and cooler. The fiberglass (a type of malleable plastic) covering is waterproof, but the cushioning beneath is not. You can, nevertheless, often get a waterproof liner. The doctor putting on the cast will choose whether your child should get a fiberglass cast with a waterproof lining.
Although kids may think a cast is cool when it’s finally on, the process of getting one can be frightening, specifically for a child in pain. Understanding what occurs in the cast room might help relieve some concern– both yours and your child’s.
For displaced fractures (where the pieces on either side of the break are out of line), the bone will have to be set before putting on a cast. To set the bone, the doctor will put the pieces of the damaged bone in the right position so they can grow back together into one bone (this is called a closed decrease).
A closed decrease is when the doctor realigns the broken bone so that it recovers in a straighter position. Straightening the bones is a painful procedure, so sedation is offered so the child won’t feel it. This medicine usually is given through an intravenous (IV, into a vein) line. A cast is then put on to keep the bone in position. You can expect the doctor to take another X-ray immediately after the realignment procedure to make sure the bones remain in great position.
Although a lot of broken bones simply require a cast to recover, other more serious fractures (such as compound fractures) might need surgery to be effectively lined up and to make sure the bones stay together during the recovery procedure.
Open fractures need to be cleaned up thoroughly in the sterile space of an operating room prior to they’re set due to the fact that the bone’s exposure to the outside environment poses a risk of infection.
With breaks in bigger bones or when the bone breaks into more than two pieces, the doctor may put a metal pin in the bone to assist set it prior to putting a cast. When the bone has healed, the doctor will eliminate the pin.
For the most severe breaks, a surgical repair might need a bigger metal plate to be connected to the outdoors surfaces of the bone, or a rod might be put within the bone to hold bone pieces in place.
When Will a Broken Bone Heal?
Fractures recover at different rates, relying on the age of the child and the kind of fracture. For example, children may heal in as low as 3 weeks, while it may take 6 weeks for the same type of fracture to heal in teens.
It is essential for your child to wait to play games or sports that might use the injured part till your doctor states it’s OK.
Preventing Broken Bones
Although fractures are a common part of youth, some kids are most likely to have one than others. For example, those with an inherited condition called osteogenesis imperfecta have bones that are breakable and more vulnerable to breaking.
Make sure your child is getting enough calcium and vitamin D to reduce the risk of establishing osteoporosis (a condition that causes bones to be more fragile and most likely to break) later on in life.
Also, remember to motivate kids to get involved in regular physical activities and workout, which are crucial to excellent bone health. Weight-bearing exercises such as jumping rope, jogging, and walking likewise can help develop and preserve strong bones.
Although it’s difficult to keep kids from harm’s way all the time, you can assist to avoid injuries by taking simple safety preventative measures, like childproofing your home, making sure kids constantly wear proper safety equipment such as helmets when participating in sports, and utilizing safety seat and safety belt for kids at every age and stage.
If your child does get a damaged bone, bear in mind that even though it can be frightening, a fracture is a common, treatable injury. With a little patience, your child will be back to playing and playing around before you know it.
If the fracture is complicated or more severe, an open reduction may be necessary. Open reduction is a surgical procedure where an incision or cut is made in the skin and metal pins and plates are connected to the broken bone pieces to better stabilize the break while it heals. This is done under basic anesthesia.
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