A child with an ankle fracture

An ankle fracture is considered as a common childhood injury which involves a break in one or several bones that comprises the ankle – fibula, tibia and talus. The ankle fractures among children usually involve the tibia and fibula. The fractures on the tibia and fibula ends typically include the growth plates. These plates are zones of growing cartilage tissue that control growth of bone and determine the shape and length of the mature bone.

What are the usual causes?

An ankle fracture among children usually occur while playing sports or engaging in vigorous activities in which the lower leg or foot of the child twists unexpectedly. Sports that involve jumping and lateral motion can put a child at risk for ankle injuries.

It is important to note that the long bones of the body do not grow from the center and outwards. Remember that growth occurs at every end of the bone around the growth plate. Once a child is full grown, the growth plates harden into solid bone. Since the growth plates are the last part of the bones to solidify, they are prone to fractures. A child is more likely to end up with a growth plate fracture when engaging in sports.

Ankle fracture

An ankle fracture among children usually occur while playing sports or engaging in vigorous activities in which the lower leg or foot of the child twists unexpectedly.

What are the symptoms?

Unless an X-ray is taken, it is hard to differentiate between an ankle sprain and an ankle fracture. Primarily, both fractures and sprains cause swelling and pain. An indication of a fracture is when the child could not put weight on the affected ankle. A fracture with an open wound requires immediate attention. To learn to recognize and manage the bone and muscle injuries including ankle fractures, sign up for first aid courses in Winnipeg today.

How ankle fractures are diagnosed

After the doctor discusses how the injury occurred and the medical history of the child, a physical examination will be carried out to check for swelling, tenderness, bruising, tears in the skin and deformity of the ankle.

Wounds indicate an open fracture which is considered serious since the risk for infection is high. Open fractures require immediate care including wound irrigation and surgery to repair the fracture. In addition, the doctor will feel the pulses in the foot and leg as well as assess the sensation and movement.

Imaging tests

Once the doctor suspects an ankle fracture, additional tests will be ordered in order to provide more information regarding the extent of the injury.

A common way to properly evaluate an ankle fracture is with an X-ray. This imaging test will provide the doctor with a clear image of the injured bone. The X-ray result will reveal if the bone is broken or still intact.

If the physical examination suggests a fracture but could not be detected by an X-ray, an MRI will be requested by the doctor. This test will provide a high resolution image of both the soft tissues and bone.

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