Growth Plate Injuries

Growth Plate Injuries

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At the Andrews Institute, our orthopedic specialists are expertly trained in diagnosing and treating conditions unique to a child’s growth and development, including growth plate injuries.

Such injuries can happen in the long bones of the arms and legs, in areas called growth plates, or physes. Growth comes from the plates, with one at each end of the bone. The plates are initially made of a connective tissue called cartilage, until the skeleton matures during the teen years and the tissue is replaced by solid bone.

Growth plates are the weakest part of the bone, so injuries there are a common childhood problem. Fractures are the growth plate injury we see the most.

When a growth plate is injured, problems with proper skeletal growth and development are possible, including arthritis and limb disorders. We offer the best technology and techniques available, along with the expertise needed to protect your child’s health. 

Symptoms

Symptoms of Growth Plate Injuries

Signs and symptoms of growth plate injuries are similar to those of fractures and include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty using, moving or bearing weight on the injured area
Tests and Diagnosis

Diagnosing Growth Plate Injuries

At the Andrews Institute, our orthopaedic specialists examine your child, assess pain and use imaging to diagnose the problem. 

Diagnostic tools include:

  • Physical exam: Looks at your child’s injured area, checking for pain, discomfort, limited range of motion and weakness
  • X-ray: Uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to take detailed images of bones
  • CT (computed tomography) scan: Uses X-rays to make detailed images of the injured area
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan: Uses magnetic fields and radio waves to take detailed pictures of the injured area
  • Bone scans: Uses a small, safe amount of radioactive substance to make detailed images of the affected bones
Treatments

Treating Growth Plate Injuries

At the Andrews Institute, we are leaders in pediatric orthopedic care, offering comprehensive, individualized treatment for unique childhood conditions like growth plate injuries.

After diagnosis, your physician will consult with you and then recommend the best approach for your child. Treatment options depend on the nature of the growth plate injury and your child’s age and skeletal development.

Non-surgical treatment options include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Activity modification
  • Immobilization with a brace or cast
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Non-surgical procedure to manually realign the bone, if it’s fractured - learn more about fractures.

For complex growth plate injuries, surgery may be necessary to realign the bones.

Resources

Growth Plate Injuries Resources

Learn more about growth plate injuries in children:

FAQs

Growth Plate Injuries FAQs

What are common causes of growth plate injuries in children?

Growth plate injuries can be caused by trauma or overuse. Most growth plate injuries happen from a fall or during competitive sports or recreational activities.

What’s the long-term outlook for children with growth plate injuries?

When growth plate injuries are detected and treated early, good outcomes are likely. If growth plate injuries are left untreated, children may develop arthritis and limb disorders.

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