Growth Plate Injuries Q&A

Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon located in Grapevine, TX

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Growth Plate Injuries

Growth Plate Injuries services offered in Grapevine, TX

Growth plates produce new bone in children, so injuries can affect your child’s musculoskeletal development. If your child suffers a growth plate injury, visit fellowship-trained pediatric orthopedic surgeon Roderick Capelo, MD, at Pediatric Sports and Spine Associates in Grapevine, Texas. Dr. Capelo and his team excel at assessing and treating growth plate injuries to ensure your child grows up fit and strong. To benefit from their extensive experience, call Pediatric Sports and Spine Associates today or book an appointment online.

What are growth plate injuries?

Growth plates are the areas where tissue develops in growing bones. There are two growth plates for each long bone. They support healthy growth to adulthood when solid bone replaces the growth plates.

Growth plates are prone to fractures because they’re the weakest part of a child’s musculoskeletal system. They can even be weaker than the ligaments and tendons in a joint, meaning that an injury causing a joint sprain in an adult might damage the growth plate in a child.

Fractures and overuse syndromes like Sever’s disease (osteochondrosis or apophysitis), Osgood-Schlatter disease, and Sinding-Larsen-Johansson disease are the most common growth plate injuries.

Where do growth plate injuries occur?

Growth plate injuries are most likely to affect your child’s:

  • Femur (thigh bone)
  • Tibia and fibula (lower leg bones)
  • Radius (outer wrist bone)
  • Phalanges (finger bones)

Boys suffer growth plate injuries more often than girls because girls mature more quickly so their bones solidify at a younger age. 

Children have a higher risk of experiencing growth plate injuries if they participate in sports or other physical activities. However, the benefits to children of being physically active far outweigh the risk of an injury.

What symptoms do growth plate injuries cause?

Growth plate injury symptoms vary depending on their location, but common signs include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Warmth
  • Loss of function

Some growth plate injuries heal successfully without intervention. However, leaving others untreated risks the child experiencing slow or stunted bone growth and bone abnormalities. If you suspect your child might have a growth plate injury, schedule a consultation at Pediatric Sports and Spine Associates as soon as possible to prevent these problems.

How are growth plate injuries treated?

The Pediatric Sports and Spine Associates team examines X-rays of the injury first to determine the best treatment for your child.

Some growth plate injuries heal naturally with a cast or splint to keep the bones in place. However, others might need surgery. A fracture that goes into the joint or crosses the growth plate might benefit from surgical realignment to help the growth plates recover.

When the injury occurs, it’s not possible to judge whether the growth plate has suffered permanent damage. The Pediatric Sports and Spine Associates team checks X-rays or CT/MRI scans of the healing growth plate injury for several years afterward to ensure the bone grows as it should.

To find out more about growth plate injuries and receive specialized care, call Pediatric Sports and Spine Associates today or book an appointment online.