Ultimate Guide to Pediatric Fracture Treatment: 9 Types of Fractures

Fracture Treatment

When your child is active and adventurous, it’s not unusual to encounter the occasional fall or tumble. However, a fractured bone can be a distressing experience for parents and children alike. Understanding fracture treatment for children is crucial to promoting proper healing and avoiding long-term complications. This guide offers insights into pediatric fracture treatment. It highlights why trusting a pediatric orthopedic surgeon can make a significant difference.

Who is a Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon?

A pediatric orthopedic surgeon is a medical specialist trained to diagnose, treat, and manage musculoskeletal conditions in children and adolescents. They specialize in caring for growing bones, joints, and muscles, providing tailored treatments that consider the unique aspects of a child’s anatomy and growth patterns. Their expertise is particularly crucial when treating fractures because children’s bones heal differently from adults, requiring specific care.

Fracture Treatment in Children vs. Adults

Treating fractures in children is not the same as treating them in adults. Children’s bones are still growing and have unique properties like growth plates—soft, developing cartilage that later turns into solid bone. Pediatric orthopedic surgeons understand these differences and adopt specific approaches to ensure proper healing without disrupting growth.


Key Differences:

  • Healing Speed: Children’s bones tend to heal faster than adults due to their high regenerative capacity. The healing time for pediatric fractures depends on the location and severity of the break. Most fractures in children typically heal within 4 to 8 weeks. 
  • Growth Plates: Growth plates at the ends of long bones are crucial for bone growth but are also more susceptible to injury. Improper treatment can lead to long-term deformities.
  • Bone Remodeling: Children’s bones can remodel better, often allowing for less invasive treatments.

9 Types of Pediatric Fractures

Fractures come in many forms, depending on the bone involved and the nature of the injury. Here’s a list of common fracture types in children:

  1. Greenstick Fracture: The bone bends and cracks but doesn’t break entirely, akin to how a green twig might snap.
  2. Torus/Buckle Fracture: One side of the bone compresses and buckles without breaking entirely.
  3. Complete Fracture: The bone breaks into two or more separate pieces.
  4. Growth Plate Fracture: This occurs in the growth plate and can affect bone growth.
  5. Comminuted Fracture: The bone breaks into several fragments.
  6. Open Fracture (Compound): The bone breaks and pierces through the skin, increasing infection risk.
  7. Closed Fracture: The bone breaks but remains within the skin.
  8. Spiral Fracture: The break spirals around the bone, often due to twisting injuries.
  9. Stress Fracture: Small cracks develop in the bone due to repeated stress.

Treatment Options

Non-Surgical Treatments: Many fractures in children can be treated non-surgically using splints, braces, or casts. These devices hold the bone in place, allowing it to heal correctly.

  • Splints: Support and stabilize minor fractures, often used in the initial treatment phase.
  • Casts: Provide rigid support for complete fractures and are worn for several weeks to ensure stable healing.
  • Braces: Similar to casts, braces offer more flexibility while stabilizing the fracture.

Surgical Treatments: Surgery is required for severe fractures where bones must be realigned or supported with medical devices.

  • Closed Reduction: Realigning bones without surgery, often followed by casting.
  • Open Reduction and Internal Fixation: Surgical realignment of bones with plates, screws, or rods.

The Human Body and Healing

Understanding the body’s ability to heal is essential when dealing with fractures. Humans are born with 270 bones, but many fuse as we grow, leaving adults with 206 bones. Bones serve to protect organs, produce blood cells, store minerals, and allow joint movement. They are also alive and can regenerate after injury. Regular exercise strengthens bones, while inactivity weakens them, which is why physical therapy often plays a role in fracture recovery.

Identifying a Fracture vs. a Bruise in Children

If you’re unsure whether your child has a broken bone or a bruise, watch for symptoms such as intense pain, swelling, bruising, difficulty moving or bearing weight on the affected area, and visible deformity. When in doubt, contact Pediatric Orthopedic Specialists for a precise diagnosis.

Get Expert Fracture Treatment at Pediatric Orthopedic Specialists Today

At Pediatric Orthopedic Specialists, our expert team understands the intricacies of pediatric fractures in Salt Lake City. We provide comprehensive and personalized care, ensuring your child’s bones heal properly while continuing to grow and thrive.


If your child has sustained a fracture or you’re seeking specialized orthopedic advice, reach out today to schedule an appointment. We’re here to provide the best care and guide your child toward a full recovery!