Treatment for growth plate injuries in kids

Growth plates are the part of kids’ bones that sit in between the end of the bone, called the epiphysis, and the longer, middle part of the bone, called the diaphysis. Growth plates are a type of developing tissue that are made up of cartilage. This cartilage hardens together when a child is finished growing, fusing the bone into a single, complete structure. At Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver, Colorado, our pediatric orthopedic care team is trained to recognize, diagnose and treat growth plate injuries, so your child can continue a proper growth pattern.

Learn more about growth plate fractures in children
Call Rocky Mountain Pediatric OrthoONE at (720) 979-0840 to learn more about growth plate injury care for your child at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

Oftentimes, growth plate injuries occur during contact sports or sports that require repetitive actions, such as basketball, football or gymnastics. Growth plate injuries can also be caused by a collision or contact with another child, a sudden fall or an accident.

Children heal very fast, meaning a growth plate injury can heal improperly if left untreated. It is essential to seek medical attention if you suspect your child has an injury, as the growth plate may be affected.

Types of growth plate injuries

At Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, we treat a wide range of growth plate injuries affecting all parts of the body. We are here to ensure your child’s growth plate injury heals properly and to make sure there are no long-lasting effects from injury. We treat the following types of growth plate injuries:

Shoulder growth plate injuries

Growth plate fractures of the shoulder are known as a type of acute injury in children, or one that results from a singular event or incident. Shoulder growth plate injuries typically involve the upper part of the humerus or collarbone. Overuse injuries in sports, such as baseball, can also lead to growth plate injuries in the shoulder, like little league shoulder.

Hand and wrist growth plate injuries

Growth plate injuries in the hand and wrist are common and normally result from falls on an outstretched hand. In fact, in children whose growth plates are still open, growth plate injuries in the hand or wrist can be more common than a wrist sprain.

Elbow growth plate injuries

Elbow growth plate injuries are common in children and can occur as a result of a fall, strain or hyperextension. Children who participate in sports that require repetitive motions, such as tennis, baseball or golf, are more likely to sustain an elbow growth plate injury. One common growth plate injury among baseball players is little league elbow.

Hip growth plate injuries

The hip is classified as a ball-and-socket joint. A growth plate exists in children at the base of the femoral head, or the ball of the joint. The proper growth of the top of the thighbone is dependent upon this growth plate.

Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) is a growth plate injury in the hip where the ball of the ball-and-socket joint slips at the site of the growth plate. SCFE generally occurs in children between 11 years old and 16 years old who are experiencing a growth spurt, but the exact cause is unknown.

Ankle growth plate injuries

Ankle injuries are very common in kids, especially in children who participate in sports. Ankle growth plate injuries are most likely to occur in the tibia or fibula, two of the three bones that make up the ankle joint. Ankle growth plate injuries can either be a fracture or a break and can take anywhere from four weeks to four months to heal. Our pediatric foot and ankle care specialists offer comprehensive treatment for ankle growth plate injuries to ensure proper healing and development for your child’s joint.

Foot growth plate injuries

Children may incur a range of foot injuries during childhood and adolescence. It is important to watch out for growth plate injuries that may affect the foot. Children with foot growth plate injuries commonly experience chronic heel pain, resulting from overuse and inflammation around the heel bone. This growth plate injury is known as Sever’s disease.

Although, growth plate injuries of the foot are not always caused by overuse. Injuries to the growth plate may also occur from a traumatic injury.

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