A broken bone, also known as a bone fracture, is a common injury seen in active children. It is typically caused by falls, hard bumps, excessive physical activity, and other incidents involving high force impact or stress. In April 2013, the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS) released the results of a study that sought to identify the most common types and causes of bone fractures in children. The results are somewhat surprising:
Approximately one-third of pediatric fractures occur during sport or recreational activity. In this Norwegian study, researchers sought to determine the incidence and causes of pediatric fractures in children under age 16 by evaluating 1,403 fracture cases over a 12 month period. Exposure time to the most common childhood activities was measured through random interviews with parents in the study population.
There was an overall annual incidence rate of 180.1 fractures per 10,000 children. The distal radius, or wrist, was most often fractured (436 fractures, or 31.1 percent of all injuries), followed by fingers (436 or 31.1 percent) and toes (247 or 17.6 percent). Snowboarding was associated with the highest activity-specific fracture rate (out of 15 activity categories), estimated to be 1.9 fractures per 10,000 hours of exposure, which is four times higher than the fracture rates for soccer, and five times higher than trampoline use.
So, if you plan to go snowboarding with your family any time soon, say in Copper Mountain or Winter Park, then it pays to be prepared. In the event that your child suffers a bone or joint injury, the information below may be very helpful.
What to do in case of a suspected bone fracture
Symptoms of a bone fracture include pain, swelling, bruising, and deformity of the bone (although not always present). The injured extremity should be immobilized with a splint and iced until the child can be taken to their trusted Littleton pediatrician for immediate evaluation. If there is an opening of the skin with bleeding around the injured area, you should seek emergency evaluation at the closest emergency room.
Bone fracture diagnosis and treatment
A trusted Littleton pediatrician, such as those at Focus on Kids Pediatrics, often requires an X-ray of the injured area for better diagnosis. Depending on the X-ray results, the doctor may choose to apply either splinting or casting to keep the bone in place as it heals.
Most bone fractures in children do not require surgery. However, if your child does need an operation, your pediatrician can ensure that the child receives the most appropriate surgery for his/her injury from the most reliable orthopedic surgeons in the area.
(Source: New Research Looks at the Causes and Most Common Types of Broken Bones in Children, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Apr. 8, 2013)