A fracture is a partial or complete break in the bone. When a fracture occurs, it is classified as either open or closed:
Open fracture (also called compound fracture). The bone exits and is visible through the skin, or a deep wound that exposes the bone through the skin.
Closed fracture (also called simple fracture). The bone is broken, but the skin is intact.
Fractures have a variety of names. Below is a listing of the common types that may occur in children:
Greenstick. Incomplete fracture. A portion of the bone is broken, causing the other side to bend.
Transverse. The break is in a straight line across the bone.
Spiral. The break spirals around the bone; common in a twisting injury.
Oblique. Diagonal break across the bone.
Compression. The bone is crushed, causing the broken bone to be wider or flatter in appearance.
Comminuted. The break is in three or more pieces.
Fractures occur when there is more force applied to the bone than the bone can absorb. Bones are weakest when they are twisted.
Breaks in bones can occur from falls, trauma, or as a result of a direct blow or kick to the body.
A child's bone differs from adult bone in a variety of ways:
The following are the most common symptoms of a fracture. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of a broken bone may resemble other conditions. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.
The doctor makes the diagnosis with physical examination and diagnostic tests. During the examination the doctor obtains a complete medical history of the child and asks how the injury occurred.
Diagnostic procedures may include:
Our orthopaedic experts provide advanced care for children and teens with orthopaedic conditions and sports injuries.
Invest in future cures for some of life's most devastating diseases
Keep in touch with Children's National by signing up for our newsletters.
Children’s Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine provides care for all musculoskeletal conditions in newborns, children, and teens.