Growth plates are areas of growing tissues that cause the long bones in children and teens to grow. Injuries to the growth plate happen when a break or fracture develops near or at the end of a long bone. The growth plate is the weakest part of the growing skeleton.
Growth plate injuries usually happen at the:
- Bones of the legs.
- Hip bone.
When you finish growing, the growth plates close and are replaced by solid bone.
Points To Remember About Growth Plate Injuries
- Injuries to the growth plate happen when a break or fracture occurs near or at the end of a long bone.
- Growth plate injuries happen to children and teens.
- Most growth place injuries occur after a sudden accident, such as falling or having a hard hit to the limb.
- Most growth plate injuries get better and do not cause any lasting problems for your child or teen
Who gets growth plate injuries?
Growth plate injuries happen to children and teens. This injury happens twice as often in boys as in girls.
What are the symptoms of growth plate injuries?
- Your child or teen could have symptoms of a growth plate injury when your child:
- Stops playing because of pain after a sudden injury. Limits the amount of time playing because of an old injury. Has changes in the way their arm or leg bends.
- Cannot move an arm or leg because of pain.
- Has pain that continues after an overuse injury.
What causes growth plate injuries?
- Growth plate injuries happen for many reasons. Most occur after a sudden accident, such as falling or having a hard hit to the limb. The most common cause of growth plate injuries includes:
- Falling down.
- Recreational and competitive sporting activities.
- Sometimes growth plate injuries happen when your child overuses a certain part of the body. For example:
- Gymnasts who practice for hours on the uneven bars.
- Long-distance runners.
Other reasons for growth plate injuries are:
- Injury from extreme cold (for example, frostbite).
- Medications for example, steroids.
- Neurological disorders that cause people to lose their balance and fall.
- Some inherited disorders.
- Bone infections.
- Metabolic disease, such as kidney failure and hormone disorders.
How are growth plate injuries treated?
Treatment of a growth plate injury depends on the type of fracture and may include:
- Using a cast or splint to stop movement of the growth plate. Setting the bones back in place with manipulation or surgery. Exercises after the injury heals.
Long-term follow-up, which could include more x-rays.
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