Broken bones and ligament sprains are common injuries in children and often occur at the same time. If your child has symptoms of a fracture or sprain, Brittany Glenn, DO, at Cali Kids Urgent Care in Laguna Niguel, California, can help. She and the team offer rapid assessments of acute injuries and expert treatment to help your child recover as quickly as possible. Call Cali Kids Urgent Care to schedule a consultation or book one online today.
Broken bones (fractures) in children are most often a result of falls and sports injuries. They can also occur in auto accidents or in any situation where more pressure is put on a bone than it can withstand.
Your child could break any bone in their body, but the most common broken bones in children are the:
Some broken bones are simple fractures where the bones stay in alignment. You can see the broken bone through the skin if you have a compound fracture, and a comminuted fracture refers to a bone that breaks into more than two pieces.
Children sometimes get greenstick fractures, where the bone doesn't break all the way. These usually affect children under 10 because their bones are more flexible.
Broken bones are typically intensely painful, and there's likely to be swelling and bruising. The bone or joint often looks distorted or out of place, although this won't be the case with simple fractures.
Your child might complain of numbness and tingling and may be unable to use the affected body part. Compound fractures bleed and also increase the risk of infection because of the broken skin.
Many of the symptoms of broken bones are also typical of sprains, which are injuries to the ligaments connecting the bones in your child's joints. Sprains can be just as severe as broken bones if the ligament tears apart, making them equally painful.
In some cases, your provider at Cali Kids Urgent Care can use a splint to keep a simple fracture immobilized while it heals. However, most broken bones require a cast.
Why isn’t my child getting a cast right away? A splint is a temporary immobilizer that is applied in the acute stages of a broken bone or fracture. A splint is open on one or more sides to allow for swelling.
A cast is placed by a specialist and is circumferential (meaning it goes all the way around the bone). It is dangerous to place a cast on an acute fracture because it does not allow room for the soft tissues to swell, and this could lead to compartment syndrome or loss of blood flow to the extremity.
If the bones are out of alignment, your provider might be able to manipulate them back into position before applying a cast (closed reduction). If the fracture is too severe, your child might need to undergo surgery (open reduction) to realign the bones.
Sometimes badly broken bones need fixing together with pins, plates, or screws. Sprains, where the ligament separates into one or more pieces, are also likely to require surgery.
Cali kids Urgent Care does NOT perform sedation on children. If your child has a severe fracture requiring sedation for a reduction, they may be refered to the emergency room for more definite treatment after x-rays are obtained.
The healing time for broken bones varies depending on the type of fracture and your child's age. Simple broken bones in young children can heal in as little as three weeks, while an adolescent's broken bone could take six weeks or more.
If you suspect your child has a broken bone, call Cali Kids Urgent Care today or book an appointment online. Walk-ins are also welcome.