Growth Plate Fracture
by Pamela Jones, MA
A growth plate fracture is a crack or split in or through the softer areas of a child's bone. These areas let the bone grow and will harden as a child gets older.
These fractures may cause problems with bone growth.
Growth plate fractures are caused by trauma to the bone.
These fractures only happen in growing children.
Things that may increase the chance of this fracture are:
The symptoms a child has depends on where the fracture is and whether it is mild or severe. Common places for this fracture are the long bones of the fingers, the forearms, and the lower legs. A child may have:
The doctor will ask about the child's symptoms and health history. The doctor will also ask how the injury happened. A physical exam will be done.
Images of the bone may be taken with:
The goal is to make sure the bone heals the right way and can keep growing. The bone may be checked as a child grows to make sure it is growing the right way. Options are:
A cast or splint may be used to keep the bone in place while it heals. It will also provide support and ease pain.
Children with a severe fracture may need surgery. Pins and screws may be used to reconnect bone pieces and hold them in place.
Have your child take these steps to lower the chance of a fracture:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Growth Plate Fractures. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/growth-plate-fractures. Updated October 2014. Accessed September 19, 2019.
When your child needs a cast. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated May 2018. Accessed September 19, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
Last Updated: 5/29/2020
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.