DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Growth plates are the softer parts of your child's bones, where growth occurs. Located at each end of a bone, growth plates are the weakest sections of the skeleton — sometimes even weaker than surrounding ligaments and tendons. Because growth plates are so fragile, an injury that would result in a joint sprain for an adult can cause a growth plate fracture in your child.
Growth plate fractures often need immediate treatment because they can affect how the bone will grow. An improperly treated growth plate fracture could result in a fractured bone ending up more crooked or shorter than its opposite limb. But the comforting news for your child is that with proper treatment, most growth plate fractures heal without complications.
- Mathison DJ, et al. General principles of fracture management: Fracture patterns and description in children. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 31, 2010.
- Geiderman JM, et al. Fractures. In: Marx JA, et al., eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 6th ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Mosby; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..00046-3--s0020&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&sid=1046559067&type=bookPage§ionEid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..00046-3--s0055&uniqId=216942841-3#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..00046-3--s0055. Accessed Aug. 31, 2010.
- Moeller JL, et al. Orthopedics. In: Rakel RE. Rakel: Textbook of Family Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/216942841-3/1046540165/1481/496.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2467-5..50044-0--cesec4_2535. Accessed Aug. 31, 2010.
- Questions and answers about growth plate injuries. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/hi/topics/growth_plate/growth.htm. Accessed Aug. 31, 2010.
- Growth plate fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/fact/thr_report.cfm?Thread_ID=244&topcategory=Children. Accessed Aug. 31, 2010.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 1, 2010.