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Hurt Kids: Injured Growth Plates

By Matt Lalande in Hurt Kids on February 04, 2024

Hurt Kids: Injured Growth Plates

Understanding Injured growth plates is essential for those navigating the complexities of childhood fractures.  These regions, critical in a child’s growing skeleton, are responsible for bone elongation and are particularly prone to injury due to their softer cartilage composition. Recognizing symptoms early can help safeguard your child’s future bone health by preventing irregularities in mature bones.

Detection often involves imaging techniques such as X-rays or CT scans that healthcare professionals rely on for accurate diagnoses. When it comes to treatment, knowing the options — from non-surgical methods to potential surgical interventions — is vital. Equally important is consistent follow-up care after initial recovery, which helps ensure proper healing and functionality of long bones like the thigh bone.

This overview sets out clear guidance on managing these delicate injuries efficiently with an emphasis on practical steps towards full recovery.

Remember, if your child has suffered serious injuries he or she may require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care, which can be financially overwhelming for families. Compensation helps cover these expenses, ensuring the child receives the best possible care without placing undue financial strain on the family. 

Additionally, compensation can support modifications to living arrangements and education plans, accommodating any disabilities or challenges the child faces as a result of their injuries. Recovering compensation can provide a sense of justice and recognition of the child’s suffering, contributing to their emotional and psychological healing.

Contact us today, no matter where you are in Ontario by calling us at 1-844-LALANDE or local throughout southern Ontario by calling us at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can send us a confidential email through our website or chat live with our live chat operator 7 days a week 24 hours a day.

What are Growth Plates?

Growth plates, also known as epiphyseal plates, play a pivotal role in children’s bone development. These specialized areas of cartilage sit near the ends of long bones and are integral to their lengthening process during childhood and adolescence. As regions where new bone is generated, they’re crucial for determining future height and limb proportions.

The Role of Cartilage in Bone Lengthening

In young individuals, growth plates consist mainly of cartilage — a flexible tissue that gradually ossifies or hardens into solid bone over time. This transformation is critical for maintaining proper shape and strength as the child matures. It’s interesting to note that these zones remain soft longer than other skeletal structures; thus making them one of the last parts to develop fully into hard bone.

This vulnerability can sometimes lead to injuries such as fractures occurring within these active sites on a child’s growing skeleton — particularly because they’re weaker than the surrounding ligaments and tendons that attach muscles to bones. 

When it comes down to childhood fractures, about 15% involve growth plate injuries largely because they lack resilience against blunt force impacts from activities like competitive sports or recreational accidents.

Symptoms Indicating a Possible Growth Plate Injury

If your child has been involved in a bicycle accident, has been hit by a car, or was involved in a car accident and sustained any injury potentially affecting their limbs’ function, look out for immediate pain at the injury site along with an inability to move the affected area properly. 

This might suggest damage directly related to those essential developing sections — their growth plates — therefore calling for urgent attention. Delayed treatment may result in prolonged issues involving matured structure form, eventually influencing final adult stature negatively both cosmetically and functionality-wise. 

Hence, the importance of a pediatric orthopedic surgeon cannot be overstressed enough here, especially considering the possibility of requiring specific interventions tailored based on individual case severity and context involved.

How are Growth Plate Injuries Diagnosed?

Advanced imaging techniques like X-rays or CT scans will diagnose growth plate injuries at the hospital. These tools allow healthcare professionals not just to visualize suspected fracture lines but also to evaluate the precise nature and extent of damages inflicted. 

This then aids in crafting the best course of action towards recovery, preserving the overall well-being of the juvenile patients concerned, and ultimately safeguarding the unhampered continuation of their natural physiological maturation journey. 

What are the Difference Types of Growth Plate Injuries?

The Salter-Harris classification system is employed by medical professionals to categorize the majority of growth plate injuries and fractures into five distinct types. To comprehend these types of injuries, it’s beneficial to have a basic understanding of the structure of long bones, which consist of four principal sections:

Epiphysis: located at the end of the bone nearest to the joint.
Physis: known as the growth plate.
Metaphysis: the region between the growth plate and the bone’s shaft.
Diaphysis: the long bone’s shaft, situated between growth plates at both ends.

The categorization of growth plate injuries according to the Salter-Harris system is as follows:

  • Type I injuries occur when the fracture crosses through the physis without affecting the surrounding bone area.
  • Type II injuries are characterized by fractures that extend through both the physis and the metaphysis, representing the most frequent type of growth plate fracture.
  • Type III injuries involve fractures that traverse the epiphysis and the growth plate, resulting in a disconnection of the epiphysis and physis from the metaphysis.
  • Type IV injuries are identified by fractures that pass through the physis, metaphysis, and epiphysis.
  • Type V injuries consist of a compression fracture at the physis, occurring when the bone’s end is crushed and the growth plate is compressed. This is an uncommon fracture type.

In some cases, the Peterson classification is also referenced by physicians in discussions about growth plate injuries. This system introduces a sixth type (Type VI), occurring when parts of the epiphysis, physis, and metaphysis are absent, typically due to a severe traumatic event that results in open wounds or compound fractures.

Growth Plate Injury Experts: Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeons

Growth plate injuries require the expertise of a pediatric surgeon due to the delicate and complex nature of treating growing bones in children and adolescents. Pediatric surgeons are specially trained to understand the intricacies of growth plate injuries, including how to treat them in a way that minimizes impact on future bone development. 

Their highly trained expertise ensures that interventions are appropriately tailored to support the injured growth plate’s potential to heal and continue contributing to the child’s growth, thus preserving normal limb function and alignment.

Your pediatric orthopedic surgeon may recommend non-surgical (also called conservative treatment) treatment procedures such as immobilization techniques such as casts or splints that keep the injured area stable and let bones grow correctly. 

This approach harnesses the remarkable potential of a child’s growing skeleton to mend itself naturally.

Conversely, surgery will more likely than not be recommended for serious growth plate injuries. Surgical procedures aim to realign and secure fractured bones so they can resume normal development without further complications.

The Importance of Retaining a Child Injury Lawyer

As mentioned earlier, injuries to the growth plates can lead to serious and long-lasting issues. Since these plates determine the future length and shape of the mature bone, damage can result in stunted growth, deformities, or uneven limb lengths.

Obtaining compensation for a child seriously hurt by a negligent party is crucial, not only to address immediate and tangible needs but also to secure the child’s future in both economic and non-economic terms.

Non-economic Damages: Non-economic damages pertain to the impacts that aren’t easily quantifiable with a dollar amount but significantly affect the child’s quality of life. Pain and suffering encompass the physical pain and emotional distress the child endures due to their injuries, which could last a lifetime. 

Serious injuries can lead to prolonged or permanent discomfort, psychological trauma, and a decrease in life enjoyment. Compensation for these damages recognizes the intangible yet profound effects of the injury on the child’s happiness and well-being.

Economic Damages: Economic damages include the direct financial costs associated with the injury. Rehabilitation costs are a primary concern, as seriously injured children may require ongoing medical treatment, physical therapy, and special accommodations as they grow. These needs can evolve and persist throughout their development into adulthood, entailing significant expenses over time. 

Furthermore, if the child’s injuries prevent them from engaging in physical activities or jobs, especially if they were likely to follow in the footsteps of a parent with a physically demanding occupation, the potential economic loss is substantial. This loss not only includes immediate income but also future earning potential, career advancements, and benefits that the child may be unable to achieve due to their limitations.

Compensation also serves as a critical means to ensure that the child has the necessary resources for comprehensive medical care, adaptive technologies, educational needs, and support services that can help them lead as full a life as possible. 

It also provides a safety net for the child’s future, particularly in addressing the potential economic disadvantage imposed by their physical limitations. The compensation thus acknowledges the broad scope of the child’s loss and suffering while attempting to mitigate the long-term impact of the injuries inflicted by negligence.

Contact our Child Injury Lawyers Today

If your child has been hurt and has suffered injured growth plates as a result of someone’s negligence, carelessness or recklessness call our child injury lawyers today. We have been fighting for the rights of hurt kids since 2003 and can help you recover both financial relief and the sense of justice that your child deserves.

To schedule your free consultation with our lawyers for hurt kids, call us toll-free, no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-888-LALANDE or local throughout the Southern Ontario area at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can chat with our live operator 24/7 or send an email through our website and we will be happy to get right back to you. 

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Growth Plate Injuries FAQ

What are growth plates?

Growth plates, or epiphyseal plates, are areas of developing cartilage tissue near the ends of long bones in children and adolescents, where bone growth occurs.

Can growth plates be permanently damaged?

Yes, growth plates can be permanently damaged if an injury is severe or not properly treated, potentially leading to stunted growth or deformities in the affected limb.

What is the worst growth plate to damage?

The worst growth plate to damage is typically the one at the end of the femur (thigh bone), as injuries here can significantly affect the leg’s length and the knee’s alignment, leading to serious long-term issues. These are common in bicycle accidents.

If someone hurt my child should I sue?

If your child was hurt in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, consulting with a personal injury lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and whether suing for compensation is in your best interest for covering medical expenses, rehabilitation, and other damages.

Can damaged growth plates require multiple surgeries?

Yes, damaged growth plates can require multiple surgeries, especially if the injury affects the bone’s ability to grow correctly, necessitating corrective procedures as the child grows.

How do I hire a child injury lawyer?

To hire a child injury lawyer, research attorneys who specialize in personal injury law with experience in child injury cases, then schedule consultations to discuss your case and evaluate their expertise, track record, and approach. Choose the one who best understands your needs and feels like the right fit for your situation.



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