Salter-Harris Fracture or Growth Plate Fracture

Salter-Harris Fracture or Growth Plate Fracture- This is the name given to fractures that occur in the growth plates of growing children. These types of fractures are quite common in children and may occur while playing or during an automobile crash. These fractures can also occur as a result of overuse injury.

What Is Salter-Harris Fracture Or Growth Plate Fracture?

The growth plates are present in growing children. They are areas of cartilage tissue which are still developing at the ends of long bones. The growth plate helps in determining the length and shape of the bone when it is fully formed. The long bones present in the body grow at each end of the bone around the growth plate. This growth plate becomes a solid bone when the growth of the child is complete. Since the growth plates are the last of the bones to form, they are at increased risk for fractures.

What Are The Causes Of Salter-Harris Fracture Or Growth Plate Fracture?

Salter-Harris Fracture or Growth Plate Fracture can be caused as a result of a traumatic event like a fall while playing or automobile crashes. In some instances, they can also be caused due to overuse.

What Are The Classifications Of Salter-Harris Fracture Or Growth Plate Fracture?

There are basically five types of Salter-Harris Fracture or Growth Plate Fracture. Four additional types were added at a later stage and are rare.

  • Salter-Harris Type-I Fracture: This is a transverse fracture occurring through the growth plate
  • Salter-Harris Type-II Fracture: This type of fracture occurs through the growth plate and metaphysis. In this type of fracture, the epiphysis is spared and requires around three weeks to completely heal.
  • Salter-Harris Type-III Fracture: This type of fracture occurs through growth plate and epiphysis. The metaphysis is spared.
  • Salter-Harris Type-IV Fracture: This type of fracture occurs through the growth plate, metaphysis, as well as epiphysis
  • Salter-Harris Type V Fracture: This is compression type fracture occurring in the growth plate.

Salter-Harris Fracture or Growth Plate Fracture

The Rarer Forms Of Salter-Harris Fracture Or Growth Plate Fracture Are:

  • Salter-Harris Type VI Fractures: In this type, there is an Injury to the peripheral portion of physis
  • Salter-Harris Type VII Fracture: In this type there is an injury to the epiphyseal plate.
  • Salter-Harris Type VIII Fracture: In this type, there is an injury to the metaphysis
  • Salter-Harris Type IX Fracture: In this type, there is an Injury to the periosteum impairing intramembranous ossification

Who Is At Risk For Developing Salter-Harris Fracture Or Growth Plate Fracture?

  • Any growing child is at risk for having a Salter-Harris Fracture or Growth Plate Fracture
  • Salter-Harris Fracture or Growth Plate Fracture is known to occur more in boys than girls
  • Approximately 30% of Salter-Harris Fracture or Growth Plate Fracture occur due to sporting activities like football, basketball, or gymnastics.
  • Approximately 20% of Salter-Harris Fracture or Growth Plate Fracture occur due to activities like biking, skiing, or skateboarding.

What Are The Symptoms Of Salter-Harris Fracture Or Growth Plate Fracture?

A Salter-Harris Fractures/Growth Plate Fracture can be identified due to the visible deformity in association with persistent excruciating pain and an inability to move the injured part.

How Are Salter-Harris Fracture Or Growth Plate Fracture Diagnosed?

To diagnose a Salter-Harris Fracture/Growth Plate Fracture, the treating physician will look for visible deformity of the inured part. The physician may also attempt to move the injured part. The injured area will be swollen, warm, extremely tender, and will be deformed. To confirm the diagnosis, the treating physician will take x-rays of the injured area to assess whether a Salter-Harris Fracture/Growth Plate Fracture has occurred. In some instances, a CT scan or an MRI may be carried out.

What Are The Treatments For Salter-Harris Fracture Or Growth Plate Fracture?

Treatment for Salter-Harris Fracture or Growth Plate Fracture is dependent on the type of the fracture sustained:

  • Treatment For Type I Salter Harris Fracture: These types of fractures may cause improper bone growth. Treatment is done by cast immobilization but surgical procedure may also be required. The surgical procedure, if required, will involve internal fixation with pins and screws so that the bone is held together in place and has a proper alignment.
  • Treatment For Salter Harris Type II Fracture: Majority of these types of fractures are treated with immobilization.
  • Treatment For Salter Harris Type III Fracture: These types of fractures are fixed with screws to maintain proper alignment.
  • Treatment For Salter Harris Type IV Fracture: These types of fractures are also treated with internal fixation
  • Treatment For Salter Harris Type V Fracture: These types of fractures are treated with cast immobilization or surgery.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: July 27, 2015

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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