What are Growth Plates & When Do Growth Plates Close?
What Are Growth Plates?
The growth plate, which is also known by the name of epiphyseal plate, is an area of growing tissues along the end of the long bones in a child. Each long bone has two growth plates one at each end. The growth plate determines how the length and shape of the bone will be once the child attains puberty. As during the growing age of a child, these growth plates are extremely soft and tender and hence are vulnerable for various sorts of injury or trauma. This is precisely the reason as to why more than 1/4th of fractures in children occur in the growth plates.
When Do Growth Plates Close?
As of now, it is extremely difficult to predict as to when do the growth plates in an individual close. This is because the different bones in the body take different times to stop growing and become mature.
Normally, the growth plate closes once the child has attained puberty. Thus for females, the normal age at which time the growth plate should close is between 12-14 years and for males the growth plates should close by the time the child is aged between 14-16 years.
Usually, a child continues to grow up to two years after attaining puberty. The age at which the growth plate closes depends on various factors like race, gender, and overall body habitus of the child. Some orthopedists make use of x-rays to estimate the amount of growth that a child is making and estimate a time as to when the growth plates may close for a particular child. However, the thumb rule is that the time when a child attains puberty, which is 12-14 years in girls and 14 to16 years in boys, is when the growth plates close.
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