Growth, in some ways, is a violent process. A child’s body is in a constant state of change as bones grow, bodies change and shift, and limbs lengthen (or broaden). It’s no wonder that junior highers are known for clumsiness—they have to get used to a new body on a week-to-week basis!
Growth makes children stronger, but it also leaves them more vulnerable. Unlike adult bones, the bones of a child are highly porous, which makes them pliable. However, it also makes them prone to fracture if subjected to enough force. Orthopaedic specialists even classify specific injuries when they’re only possible with a child’s skeleton.
Some of the injuries only a child can suffer include:
- Bowing: When a bone is bent but not broken.
- Greenstick Fractures: When a bone is only broken on one side of the bone, but the other side is only bent.
- Torus / Buckle Fractures: When the head of a long bone is fractured due to axial force, or force applied directly on the bone lengthwise.
Some of these fractures are fairly common, but they’re only possible because a child’s bones are so pliable. Part of the issue is that a child is more likely to be physically active than the average adult. For example, torus fractures frequently result from falling forward and catching yourself with outstretched hands—something a child would do if they were running and tripped over their own feet.
The Most Common Childhood Fracture
By far, the most common fracture we’ve ever experienced was a collarbone (or clavicle) fracture. Like the torus fracture, clavicle breaks commonly happen when children fall forward onto outstretched hands. As common as they are, fractured collarbones sometimes have long-term consequences.
Some people with severely-fractured collarbones experienced:
- Long-term weakness in the affected arm
- Shortening of the collarbone
- Decreased range of motion
- Decreased ability to bend
Orthopaedic doctors are often associated with elderly patients who have decreased mobility or chronic injuries, but treating healthy children is a massive part of any orthopaedic practice. Ensuring that your child grows healthy and normal is primarily a job for someone who specializes in the function of the skeleton—in other words, an orthopaedic specialist.
Call 1 (203) 337-2600 to schedule an appointment with Orthopaedic Specialty Group today!