Growth plate fracture


A child’s growth plate is the layer of developing tissue located close to the ends of their bones. Growth plates are the most malleable and frail parts of the skeleton, frequently weaker than the nearby ligaments and tendons. While an adult may experience a joint sprain as a result of an injury, the same injury could potentially cause a growth plate fracture in a child.

Growth plate fractures frequently require immediate care because they may hinder bone growth. An inadequately treated growth plate fracture could result in a shattered bone ending up more crooked or shorter than its opposite limb. Most growth plate fractures heal without issues with the right care.


The fingers, forearm, and lower leg bones are the most commonly affected by growth plate fractures. Growth plate fracture symptoms and signs can include:

  • The end of the bone that is close to the joint appears swollen and warm to touch.
  • Tenderness and pain, especially when the growth plate is pressed.
  • The extremity appears abnormally bent
  • The inability to apply weight or pressure on the limb or move the injured area.

If you suspect that your child has a fracture, it is important to take them to a doctor for a check-up. Additionally, if your child is experiencing ongoing pain that is hindering their ability to participate in sports, or if there is an obvious deformity in their arms or legs, it is recommended that you have them evaluated by a medical professional.


Often, falls or blows to the limb that cause the growth plate fracture include:

  • Leisure activities like skating, sledding, motorcycling, or skiing
  • Competitive sports, such as football, basketball, jogging, dance, or gymnastics
  • Vehicular accident

Overuse, which can happen during repetitive throwing or athletic training, can occasionally result in growth plate fractures.

Other possible causes include an infection of the bone, familial disease, cold temperature, being abused physically, taking specific types of medications, or radiation exposure.

Risk factors

Growth plate fractures occur more frequently in boys than in girls. This is due to the fact that girls generally reach their full height earlier than boys, with their growth plates maturing and being replaced with solid bone around the age of 12 years old.