Growth Plate Fractures – Frisco, TX
The orthopedic surgeons at OrthoTexas, Frisco treat a wide range of injuries and conditions of the knee joint. They are highly experienced in providing surgical as well as non-surgical treatment of conditions such as Torn ACL, Arthritis, Growth Plate Fractures, etc.

Growth Plate Fractures

Growth plates refers to a mass of cartilage tissue found around the edges of the long bones in the human body such as the femur (thigh bone), ulna and the radius (forearm bones). Each bone has two growth plates at their end and the development of the new bone occurs around these plates. The growth plates ossify (harden) when the growth cycle of the child is completed and the bones finally attain their full length. The growth plates are made of very soft tissue structures that can easily break even when a slight external pressure is applied or they are subjected to overuse. About 30% of the fractures that affect young children pertain to growth plates.

Causes Of Growth Plate Fractures

  • A fall on an outstretched knee
  • Overuse, repeated stress and faulty technique used by the children or young adults while playing sports may stress the growth plate near the knee joint resulting in stress fracture
  • Children often indulge in recreational sport such as biking, skateboarding, skiing, etc. These place them at a risk of getting injured and damaging the growth plates.
  • Gender- these types of fractures are more prevalent in young boys as compared to girls. This is because the girls attain maturity earlier and this leads to ossification of their growth plates.
  • Direct hit or trauma caused to the to the knee or thigh
  • Vehicular collisions which are highly impactful may lead to the cracking of the growth plate or the bone shaft as the knee collides against the car

Symptoms Of Growth Plate Fractures

  • Visible deformity in the knee  
  • The patient will feel immediate pain after the injury. It may be persistent, severe and localized
  • Swelling, redness, discoloration and tenderness is observed near the point of injury
  • A feeling of warmth over the skin around the knee
  • Limited range of motion, which may make performing daily tasks difficult

Diagnosis Of Growth Plate Fractures

Orthopedic doctors strongly suggest that a diagnosis should be made within a week of injury.  The bones in young adults are in their growth phase and therefore tend to heal quickly. This may mask the fracture and it may go unnoticed causing complications in the future.

  • Analysis of the mode and time of injury
  • Details of the patient’s lifestyle, medical history and symptoms may be taken into consideration
  • Palpation to check for tenderness and swelling
  • X-ray imaging to assess damage to the bone structures
  • In some cases, a MRI or CT scan may be needed because the growth plate is a soft tissue structure and cannot be analyzed through x-ray alone

Treatment For Growth Plate Fractures

The treatment methods employed vary according to the severity of injury, age and health condition of the patient as well as the location of injury. These may include the following:

  • Immobilization of the limb using a cast or splint to keep the bones in place while they heal
  • Prescription of painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines
  • The patient is advised rest and is supposed to abstain from any strenuous physical activity
  • The limb may be placed or immobilized to allow healing in a cast
  • Unstable fractures accompanied by bone displacements need surgical treatment known as the Open Reduction method. The bone is treated and repositioned and then fastened with screws and pins
  • Physical therapy may be required post-surgery and immobilization to promote flexibility and restore strength
  • Regular monitoring of the leg may be required to keep a tab on the development of the bone structure

For complete treatment of Growth Plate Fractures, visit the knee doctors at OrthoTexas, Frisco. To schedule an appointment, you can call at (214) 618 – 5502.