Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.
We’re all susceptible to bone fractures, but children have an extra risk that parents should be aware of: growth plate injuries. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, growth plate fractures account for approximately 15% to 30% of all childhood fractures.
An infographic from Hospital for Special Surgery sheds light on growth plate injuries in children and teens. Parents, take a few minutes to review the information below for a basic understanding of this health concern…
What Are Growth Plates?
Growth plates are areas of smooth, elastic cartilage located near the end of long bones in children. These are the areas where bone growth occurs in bones like the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, foot, knee, hand and ankle. Once a child stops growing, these growth plates close and become solid bone.
In the event of a growth plate injury, prompt diagnosis and treatment is important, as trauma can affect how the bone grows, potentially resulting in lifelong complications.
What Causes Growth Plate Injuries?
Growth plate injuries may result from an accident, such as a fall, or from overuse (stress from a repeated activity).
- One in three growth plate injuries occurs during competitive sports.
- One in five growth plate injuries occurs during recreational activities.
When Are Children & Teens At Risk?
As long as growth plates are present in a child or teenager, risk for injury exists. However, boys are approximately twice as likely to sustain a growth plate injury than girls. This is partly due to the fact that boys’ growth plates are open for a greater amount of time than girls’.
Female growth plates may close between the ages of 14 and 16, while male growth plates may remain open until ages 16-18.
Houston Orthopedic Physician, Dr. Rosemary Buckle
For more information, schedule an appointment with Dr. Rosemary Buckle at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.