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As everyone knows, children do not come out of their mother’s fully grown. Throughout their lives, children grow a tremendous amount before becoming full fledged adults. One key component of this process is growth plates. Growth plates only exist in children and not adults due to the fact that over time they harden into solid bone. Before that, they exist as cartilage that is at the end of long bones, which are bones that run longer than they are wide. These are generally very important ones as they exist primarily in the arms and legs. This leaves growth plates particularly susceptible to fractures since they do not become as fully hard as bone. Growth plate fractures are an important thing for parents to be aware of because when left untreated, or treated poorly, it can lead to crooked or unequal limb length.
Generally, growth plate fractures occur due to sudden collisions such as falling on the ground or in contact sports. Football, in particular, can leave kids susceptible to these kinds of fractures due to its high-velocity impacts. Repetitive movements can also lead to growth plate fractures over time, which has been observed in sports such as baseball. The difficulty lies in accurately diagnosing them when they occur. One risk in going to a general practice doctor is that they are not trained or experienced in working with growth plates or children’s unique anatomy in general. This means that they are more likely to misdiagnose or mistreat growth plate fractures. Pediatric Orthopedists, however, are highly trained in this area and know what to do to make sure children heal correctly. One advantage of going to a Pediatric Orthopedist is that they have entire facilities and staff that specialize in the treatment of children that general practices simply cannot match. This means that a dedicated team of professionals with the knowledge, experience, and tools for the job would be in charge of handling such crucial work.
Growth plate fractures are generally treated through the use of splints or casts. Depending on the specific situation of the fracture, the bone may need to be reset to put it back into place and allow it to heal properly. This process is done either before or after the cast is put on. Healing from this varies based on the severity of the fracture, and the age of the patient, with younger patients, generally healing faster. Resetting the bone is an incredibly important part of this process, and if done poorly can lead to long-term complications in the affected limb of the child. When this happens, it is often the case of a lack of experience in properly resetting a child’s arm or leg to allow the growth plate to heal properly. In more serious cases of growth plate fractures, surgery may be required to correct the fracture or any complications that occurred from improper treatment.
A growth plate fracture does not need to be any scarier than any other kind of fracture. When treated improperly, it can lead to severe complications, but going to a Pediatric Orthopedist’s office can greatly reduce the chances of that happening. With proper treatment, a growth plate fracture is highly likely to heal fully and result in no long-term complications, so parents don’t have to worry since their kids will be back out on the field in no time.
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