Child Bone Fractures
Auto accidents are a frequent cause of bone fracture injuries in children.
A bone breaks like a pencil. If too much pressure from a high energy car crash is put on a bone, it will snap and break. This is called a bone fracture. If a bone breaks into two pieces, like a broken tree branch, it is called a “complete fracture.”
Children’s bones are different from adult bones. They are softer and more flexible. As a result, children’s bones tend to bend or buckle from an accidental injury, rather than break all the way through into two pieces. In addition, an adult’s bone stops growing after puberty. Kids’ bones, on the other hand, are continuously growing. Kids’ bones grow in length at the “growth plate” found at the ends of each bone.
Because children’s bones are flexible, they often bend like a green stick instead of breaking all the way through into two pieces. Doctors call this type of child fracture, a “green stick fracture” because the fracture looks like a bent green stick.
Children’s bones are softer than adult bones. Because they are softer, children’s bones often buckle only on one side without breaking through the other side following an accident. Like a green stick fracture, a buckle fracture is an incomplete fracture, i.e., the bone does not break into two pieces.
Physicians call a child’s buckle fracture a “torus fracture” after the Latin word “tori” which means “swelling.” Swelling is a common finding in a torus fracture. Sometimes the swelling prevents the doctor from seeing the fracture on an x-ray. For this reason, doctors often x-ray the non-injured side for comparison.
Ten year old Larry Jones broke his hip in an Alexandria car accident on I-495. High energy car crashes can result in child hip fractures. A bone fracture of the long bone in the upper leg, the femur, is referred to as a hip fracture. It is also called a femur fracture.
In adults, a hip bone fracture from an auto accident is very serious. Treatment most often involves major surgery where a long intramedullary rod is drilled into the center of the femur to help stabilize the bone fracture. In other cases, metal plates and large metal screws are drilled into the femur to stabilize the fracture.
A child’s hip bone is different from an adult’s hip bone. A hip bone fracture in a young child, such as a fracture of the shaft of the femur, often heals quickly. Orthopedic surgeons often place a child, under the age of 8 with a hip (femur) fracture, in a large spica cast to heal. Most often, surgery with a intramedullary rod or metal plates and screws is not needed to stabilize and heal a child’s fractured femur.
Twelve year-old Jason broke his arm in a Fairfax auto accident on the Fairfax Parkway. His orthopedic doctor told his mom that the fracture extended into the “growth plate.”
The bones of children and adolescents are constantly growing. Bone growth takes place at each end of the bone in an area called the “growth plate.” The growth plate is the weakest part of a child’s or adolescent’s bone. For this reason, it is easily injured in serious motor vehicle collisions.
“Growth plates” close when the bone is finished growing. This usually occurs at the end of puberty.
A bone fracture injury through the “growth plate” can cause a child’s or adolescent’s bone to close too early. The result: the injured bone becomes deformed or becomes shorter than the same bone on the opposite side. For example, a fracture through a child’s growth plate in her right arm, from a car accident, could result in the right arm being shorter than the left arm. The reason for this difference in length is that the growth plate closed too early because of the fracture.
- Bone fractures in our kids are especially painful. Many times the fractured bone doesn’t heal right leaving the child with permanent complications for the rest of her life.
- Virginia Child Bone Fracture Lawyer Gerald Schwartz understands bone fractures -- how bones break, how bones heal, and the potential for bone fracture complications.
- Gerald Schwartz has advocated on behalf of injured kids for 30 years. He is a recognized “Master Advocate.” He has taught other personal injury lawyers across Virginia how to maximize recovery in child and adult fracture injury cases. To speak directly with Gerald Schwartz for a free child bone fracture injury consultation, call 703-823-0055.