A broken bone is a common term for a fracture. Most fractures require timely medical attention.
These injuries include:
- Automobile injuries
- Pelvic fractures
- Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
- Spinal fractures
- Stress fractures
- Trampoline, skateboard, monkey bars, etc. injuries
- Upper and lower extremity fractures
Emergency bone fracture treatment:
If the fracture resulted from an injury or major trauma, you should call 911. In the meantime, you can follow these suggestions to reduce pain and prevent exacerbating the fracture:
- If you know how to create a splint, do so above and below the fracture site to immobilize the bone and reduce discomfort for your child. Do not try to move the bone back into place or apply excessive pressure to it.
- Apply ice indirectly to the injury using a cloth, towel or other material. This will reduce pain and limit swelling.
- If your child appears to be in shock, meaning they have short, rapid breaths and feel faint, you should lay them down with their legs elevated, if possible, head lower than their trunk.
- If your child is bleeding near the fracture site, apply gentle pressure to the wound with a clean bandage or cloth.
- Avoid moving the patient around to avoid further injury.
If you suspect your child has a fracture in the neck, head or back use extreme caution.
If the patient is unresponsive and isn’t breathing, begin CPR.
Treatments for common pediatric fractures
Broken toe: A broken toe is a common injury that is often caused by dropping something on your foot or stubbing your toe. In most cases, a broken toe can be treated by taping it to a neighboring toe to immobilize it. But if the fracture is severe—particularly fractures involving the big toe—you may need a cast or even surgery to ensure proper healing. Most broken toes heal easily within four to six weeks.
Broken leg: A broken leg is caused by a break or crack in one of the leg bones. Broken legs range in severity from simple stress fractures to open fractures (where the bone breaks through the skin). Treatment of a broken leg depends on the location and severity of the injury. A severely broken leg may require surgery to implant devices such as pins into the broken bone. This helps to maintain proper alignment during healing. Less severe leg fractures may be treated with a cast or splint.
Broken ankle/broken foot: A broken ankle or broken foot is a common injury. It is often caused by a sports injury, a car crash or even a simple misstep. Fractures can range in seriousness from tiny cracks in your bones to shattering breaks that pierce the skin. Treatment can vary depending on the location and severity of the fracture. A severely broken ankle or broken foot may require surgery to implant wires, plates, rods or screws into the broken bone. Casts and braces can also be used to treat these fractures.
Broken wrist/hand: Wrist and hand fractures are caused by a break or crack in one of the many bones located within the wrist and hand. These fractures often occur when children try to catch themselves during a fall and land hard on their outstretched hand. Prompt medical attention is necessary to prevent the bones from healing improperly, leading to difficulty performing everyday activities such as grasping a pen or buttoning a shirt. Early treatment will also help minimize pain and stiffness. Most wrist and hand fractures will be treated with a cast.
Broken arm: A broken arm may involve any of the three bones in your arm—the ulna, radius and humerus. One of the most common causes of a broken arm is falling onto an outstretched hand. Seek prompt medical attention for your child to ensure proper healing. Treatment varies depending on severity and location. A simple break may be treated with a sling, ice and rest. A more complicated broken arm may require surgery to realign the broken bone and implant wires, plates, nails or screws into the broken, as well as the application of a cast.
Pelvic fracture: A severe impact—in a car crash, for example—can cause hip fractures in people of all ages. In older adults, a hip fracture is most often a result of a fall from a standing height. In people with very weak bones, a hip fracture can occur simply by standing on the leg and twisting. A hip fracture almost always requires surgical repair or replacement, followed by months of physical therapy. Taking steps to maintain bone density and prevent falls can help prevent hip fracture.
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis: Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) is an unusual disorder of the adolescent hip. It is not rare. For reasons that are not well understood, the ball at the upper end of the femur (thigh bone) slips off in a backward direction. This is due to weakness of the growth plate. Most often, it develops during periods of accelerated growth, shortly after the onset of puberty. The cause of SCFE is unknown. It occurs two to three times more often in males than females. In addition, a large number of patients are overweight for their height. In most cases, slipping of the epiphysis is a slow and gradual process. However, it may occur due to a minor fall or trauma. Symptomatic SCFE, when treated early and well, allows for good long-term hip function. Fixing the femoral head with pins or screws has been the treatment of choice for decades.