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Broken Bones: A Note About Children

A child’s bones heal the same way as an adult’s bones. But since a child’s bones are still growing, there are a few special concerns.

Cross-section of bone showing a growth plate and fractured growth plate

Growth plates

Growth plates are fragile groups of cells at the ends of a child’s long bones (such as the arms and legs). Growth plates ensure the bones keep growing until they reach full length. If a growth plate is damaged in a fracture, the bone may not grow as it should. Fractures involving growth plates may need more follow-up visits to make sure the bones are growing correctly.

Remodeling

Remodeling happens more quickly in children than in adults. This means a child’s broken bone may not need to be lined up perfectly. As it heals, the bone straightens through remodeling. The younger a child is, the more likely the bones will grow straight with time.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bass, Pat F. III, MD, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Images Reviewed by Staywell medical art team
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2018
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