What is a fracture?

A fracture is a partial or complete break in the bone. When a fracture occurs, it is classified as either open or closed:

Fractures have a variety of names. Below is a listing of the common types that may occur in children:

Illustration of greenstick fracture
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Illustration of transverse fracture
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Illustration of spiral fracture
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Illustration of oblique fracture
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Illustration of  a compression fracture
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What causes a fracture?

Fractures occur when there is more force applied to the bone than the bone can absorb. Bones are weakest when they are twisted. Breaks in bones can occur from falls, trauma, or as a result of a direct blow or kick to the body. A child's bone differs from adult bone in a variety of ways:

What are the symptoms of a fracture?

The following are the most common symptoms of a fracture. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of a broken bone may resemble other conditions. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

How is a fracture diagnosed?

The physician makes the diagnosis with physical examination and diagnostic tests. During the examination the physician obtains a complete medical history of the child and asks how the injury occurred. Diagnostic procedures may include:

Treatment for a fracture:

Specific treatment for a fracture will be determined by your child's physician based on:

The goal of treatment is to control the pain, promote healing, prevent complications, and restore normal use of the fractured area.

An open fracture (one in which the bone exits and is visible through the skin, or where a deep wound exposes the bone through the skin) is considered an emergency. Seek immediate medical attention for this type of fracture by calling 911.

Treatment may include:

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