Why Childhood Bone Fractures Are Complicated Injuries

Why Childhood Bone Fractures Are Complicated InjuriesThere are many different types of accidents that can cause a child to suffer broken bones. Some of the common causes include car accidents, pedestrian or bicycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and recreational accidents. Showing that drivers, property owners, and others are liable for your child’s injuries is just one part of an accident claim. The other part is fully understanding the severity of your child’s injuries, what treatments are necessary, and how well the injuries will heal. In order to maximize your damage claim, we need to understand your child’s trauma.

According to Very Well Health, children’s bones generally heal faster and better than adult fractures, which is good news. The younger your child, the more likely your child will have a better healing experience.

However, there are two types of bone breaks that are pretty unique to children:

  • Growth plates. The bones of children have growth plates – areas at the ends of the bones that continue to grow well into a child’s teen years. Growth plates are weaker than bone, however, and a growth plate fracture can affect how a child’s bone grows. Depending on the severity of the injury, a bones may stop growing altogether, or grow in an abnormal way.
  • A child’s bones tend to bend more instead of breaking. “This explains greenstick fractures and buckle fractures, which are injuries seen almost exclusively in the pediatric population. Greenstick fractures occur when the bone breaks on one side, like bending a fresh tree branch, but it stays intact on the bent side. A buckle fracture occurs when the bone buckles on one side, but it is not separated.

What types of fractures are most common for children?

Very Well Health states that childhood fractures tend to break down (no pun intended) into the following categories:

  • Fractures of the forearm. More than 40% of fractures in children occur in a child’s forearm – in the ulna and radius bones – between the wrist and elbow. This type of fracture is usually caused by a fall. Both the ulna and radius bones have growth plates at their ends. If a fracture happens at or across one of these bones, the ability of the bone to grow and mature must be considered. Generally, the bone must be set before the healing process starts.
  • Fractures of the ankle. These fractures usually involve the ends of the fibula and the tibia – both of which have growth plates. Fractures of the growth plates are more common than fractures of the bone shafts. Common causes include twisting, sideways, and jumping motions.
  • Fractures of the elbow. About 10% of fractures in children affect the area where the humerus, ulna, and radius bones meet. Falls are a common cause of elbow fractures.

Generally, the time for childhood fractures to heal is a matter of weeks, as opposed to months for adults. Very young children may only require three to four weeks before their bone heals while teenagers may require six to eight weeks to fully heal. The growth of the bone after a fracture can generally respond to the break better than for adults.

According to Total Orthopaedic Care, a child’s bones are normally thicker and stronger than that of adults because their bones contain more periosteum, “a dense layer of vascular connective tissue covering their bones.” The bones heal more quickly because the bones have more oxygen. There is a trade-off. The thickness of the bones of a child makes it harder to detect small fractures.

Adults are more likely than children to suffer wear-and-tear accidents as the cartilage and bones break down with time. Adults tend to have more fractures of the hip and knees than children for this reason.

A few practical differences between childhood injuries and adult injuries

Broken bones are one of the most common types of injuries children suffer. There are many factors that affect the medical care your child will need, the healing process, and the challenges your child will face. The factors often differ depending on the age of your child.

Children don’t have the maturity of adults. The good news is that their bones seem to heal better and faster than adult fractures. The bad news is that for growing children, just one day can seem like an eternity. The healing process does take time. Children who are used to jumping and running will have to adjust to more sedentary activities until their injuries fully heal.

Children also have more difficulty explaining how the accident happened. Our skilled personal injury lawyers work with your child to help them explain how a car accident, slip and fall, or any other type of accident happened.

At Philbrook Law Office, our Vancouver and Battle Ground, WA personal injury lawyers understand the unique challenges involved with childhood injuries. We work with the parents or guardians of the child to file the claim on the child’s behalf. Our lawyers work with your doctors to properly assess what treatment is needed, when the breaks may be permanent, and your child’s pain and suffering. We demand compensation for all your child’s economic and personal damages.

To talk with a respected personal injury lawyer in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA, call us at 360-695-3309 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment. We represent children who are hurt in accidents on a contingency fee basis.