What Is A Growth Plate Fracture?

The Growth Plate which is also known by the name of epiphyseal plate or the physis is the name given to an area of growing tissues near the ends of the long bones of children and adolescents. Each long bone has two growth plates at each end of the bone. It is the growth plate that determines the shape and size of the bone when the child matures into an adult.

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Once the growth of the child is complete, the growth plate closes and is replaced by solid bone. Till the time the growth plates are open, they are perhaps the weakest part of the musculoskeletal system of the child. This is the reason as to why the Growth Plates are vulnerable to injuries.

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Any fracture to the Growth Plates is termed as a Growth Plate Fracture. The question frequently asked is how to know whether an individual has a growth plate fracture or not. This article gives us a brief insight as to how to know whether a child has suffered a growth plate fracture or not.

What Happens When You Break A Growth Plate?

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What Happens When You Break A Growth Plate?

A growth plate fracture can occur just by a blunt trauma to the growth plates due to a fall or as a result of a motor vehicle collision. Repetitive stress on the growth plates can also result in a growth plate fracture. This can happen during training for a sporting event, in which the child may be participating in.

There are some factors which makes a child prone to growth plate fractures. A boy is more likely to suffer from a growth plate fracture than girls as growth plates close in girls faster than in boys. Majority of growth plate fractures occur during a sporting event or as a result of a fall. Biking, skating, and skateboarding also are one of the primary causes for growth plate fractures. Adolescents are more vulnerable to growth plate fractures than small children.

The moment an injury occurs to the growth plate causing it to break, there will be severe pain at the site of the injury. This pain will worsen with any attempts at moving the joint. There will be a visible deformity at the site of the injury and the bone may appear crooked. There will be severe pain with any pressure or palpation at the area of the growth plate injury. Persistent swelling at the site of the injury is yet another sign that the growth plate may be fractured. Additionally, there will be warmth and tenderness at the area of injury pointing towards a growth plate fracture.

Apart from persistent pain and swelling at the area of injury, a child with a growth plate fracture will not be able to move the injured area and any attempts at movement will cause worsening pain as a result of the growth plate fracture.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: June 5, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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