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Broken Bones: A Note About Children

 

A child’s bones heal the same way as an adult’s bones. But since a child’s bones are still growing, there are a few special concerns.

Bone showing growth plate under head of bone. Bone showing fracture through growth plate.
If a fracture goes through the growth plate, the bone may not grow correctly.
Growth Plates

Growth plates are fragile groups of cells at the ends of a child’s long bones (such as the arms and legs). Growth plates ensure the bones keep growing until they reach full length. If a growth plate is damaged in a fracture, the bone may not grow as it should. Fractures involving growth plates may require more follow-up visits to make sure the bones are growing properly.

Remodeling

Remodeling happens more quickly in children than in adults. This means a child’s broken bone may not need to be lined up perfectly. As it heals, the bone straightens through remodeling. The younger a child is, the better the bones will line up.

Online Medical Reviewer: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 3/8/2013
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