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FracturesFractures are more commonly known as broken bones. They can occur in a variety of forms ranging from minor hairline fractures to compound fractures that break the skin. Complications of a fracture may include infection and damage to nerves or blood vessels.

Treatment of a fracture depends on many different factors. Treatment options include casting, manipulation with subsequent casting, and operative fixation with plates and screws, pins, or nails. Following treatment, close follow up is necessary to optimize appropriate healing and function.

Special Considerations for Children
Unlike adults, children's bones have growth plates, which are the soft cartilage deposits from which growth occurs. Growth plate fractures can be sustained from an acute trauma such as a direct blow or fall, but they may also occur as a result of chronic muscle overuse, even if no obvious accident or injury has occurred.

A growth plate fracture can eventually lead to stunted or uneven bone growth, so periodic follow-up examinations may be required even after the fracture heals.

Preventing Fractures In Children
Because bone fractures and growth plate fractures tend to occur during children's recreational and sporting activity, it makes sense for children to follow safety principles and use protective equipment whenever possible. (See Sports Injuries In Children.)

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To learn more about pediatric orthopaedic conditions, please refer to the following organizations:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Musculoskeletal Tumor Society

Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America