Hand and wrist injuries are perhaps the most common injuries among active children. 

The growth plates in the hand and wrist are at risk of injury and fracture because the cartilage located in these areas is weaker than surrounding ligaments. While an injury to the growth plate in the wrist or hand usually heals without complication, it is important to seek treatment in a timely manner to help prevent potential long-term growth and healing problems. 

Causes of Injury to Growth Plates in the Hand and Wrist 

Injuries to the growth plate of the distal radius (lower end of the bone near the thumb) are often a result of a fall on the outstretched hand. 

Until the point at which children’s bones stop growing, around 14 to 15 for girls and 16 to 17 for boys, injuries to growth plates in the hand and wrist may be more common than a typical wrist sprain. 

Symptoms of an Injured Hand or Wrist Growth Plate 

Symptoms associated with an injured growth plate in the hand include: 

  • Swelling and bruising
  • Severe pain
  • Stiffness
  • Inability to apply pressure to the hand and/or wrist
  • Bones that appear misshapen or out of place 

Treating a Fractured Growth Plate in the Wrist or Hand 

Depending on the severity of the injury, a Pediatric Orthopedic Specialist may be consulted.  Your child’s physician may recommend a number of treatment options. These may include: 

  • Rest and ice
  • Immobilization with the use of cast followed by a removable brace
  • Surgery to correct more severe injuries to a growth plate in the hand or wrist 

For children who are not yet healed but are eager to return to their active schedules, your child’s physician may recommend low-impact activities such as swimming to prevent a repeat injury. 

If you suspect your child has suffered an injured or fractured growth plate in the wrist or hand, we encourage you to contact our physicians to schedule an appointment.

More information on growth plate injuries here.