What to do if your child has a broken bone

Caring For Our Kids

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Broken bones are a common hazard of childhood and can happen in a split second. A broken bone can be scary for kids and healing can take some time.

Dr. Heather Radu, an emergency room physician at Children’s Hospital, says most fractures occur in upper extremities like the wrist, forearm and above the elbow. When kids fall, it’s a natural reaction to try to stop the fall.

Some of the signs of a broken bone include:

  • A snap or grinding noise was heard during injury 
  • Severe swelling, bruising or tenderness around injured area 
  • It’s painful for child to move, touch or bear weight on
  • The injured part looks abnormal or bone is protruding through skin

You should seek medical care immediately if you suspect a break. Do not move the child if they have a seriously injured head, neck or back. Do not try to push a protruding bone back in.

At the hospital, an X-ray will be ordered, but you probably won’t get a cast in the emergency room. That’s because the swelling needs to go down before applying a cast. Most often a child will be given a splint to wear until the swelling goes down, which can take a few days.

Healing time depends on the location or severity of the break. The good news is that children’s bones are more flexible and usually heal more rapidly than adults. If the doctor suspects a growth plate is affected, or if the bones are out of line, your child will likely be referred to a pediatric orthopedic for consultation

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