Growth plate injuries


Our leading orthopaedic surgeons can diagnose, treat and monitor your child's growth plate injuries

Enquiries & Appointments

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About growth plate injuries

A child's growth plates are located near the ends of the bones. These areas of cartilage are softer and less mature than the rest of the bone, and are more easily broken.

Growth plates define the shape and length of the bone, so it's important that fractures are fixed immediately. If left untreated, it could result in a crooked or unequal limb.

Need to know

Most growth plate fractures happen in the fingers, forearms and legs and are usually caused by a fall or trauma. Higher risk activities such as gymnastics or sledding are also causes. Boys are more affected than girls as their bones mature later.

Symptoms of growth plate fractures are:

  • A visibly crooked or deformed limb
  • Your child will be unable to put pressure on the limb
  • The joint area, near the end of the bone, will be swollen, sore and hot

There are five different kinds of fracture, including compression injuries.

A child should be seen as soon as possible after their injury. Their bones heal very quickly and any delay could result in deformity. Your consultant will examine your child, discuss their symptoms and help to make a diagnosis.

They are likely to order an X-ray to confirm a growth plate fracture and to classify the type of fracture it is. This will help them choose the best course of treatment for your child. Other imaging tests such has MRI and CT scans will help them see damage to soft tissues and any other injuries in the area.

Your consultant will discuss your treatment options and help determine the best approach for you. If the fracture is clean, they may suggest a simple cast. This keeps the limb steady to give it a chance to heal on its own. If the bone has splintered, surgery may be the best option.

Here, bone fragments are put back in their original place (reduction) and fixed internally with metal implants. A metal brace may also be attached to the outside of the bone to keep it stable. This will be removed when healed. Your child will have regular check-ups with the consultant over the following year. This is to ensure the bone is growing without deformity.

Our Growth plate injuries locations

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH)

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH)

170 Tottenham Court Road W1T 7HA London
The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Portland Hospital

The Portland Hospital

205-209 Great Portland Street W1W 5AH London
The Princess Grace Hospital

The Princess Grace Hospital

42-52 Nottingham Place W1U 5NY London
The Lister Hospital

The Lister Hospital

Chelsea Bridge Road, SW1W 8RH London
The Shard Outpatients

The Shard Outpatients

The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street SE1 9BS London

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.