Pediatric Ankle Fracture


 

Pediatric ankle fractures are a common issue, especially in active children. At Ankle & Foot Doctors of New Jersey, experienced podiatrist Jay Bhuta, DPM, and the team offer the finest in compassionate and attentive care for young patients at their offices in Milburn, Union, Westfield, and Livingston, New Jersey. Dr. Bhuta can gently examine your child’s injury and immediately create an effective plan to help their fracture heal, so call the office nearest to you or book your appointment online today. 

What is a pediatric ankle fracture?

A pediatric ankle fracture is a broken ankle in a child. Pediatric ankle fractures can vary widely with the child, ranging from fairly minor to quite complicated. In most cases, pediatric ankle fractures affect the end of the tibia (the shinbone) or the fibula (the thinner lower leg bone.) 

Pediatric ankle fractures often occur in the growth plates — the cartilage at the ends of the bones. Growth plates eventually close, turning into solid bone sometime in adolescence. 

An untreated injury within the growth plates, like an ankle fracture, could lead to bone growth problems and keep your child from maturing normally. So, it’s particularly important to treat pediatric ankle fractures as soon as they occur. 

What causes pediatric ankle fractures?

Ankle fractures can happen at any point in childhood, but this injury is particularly common at ages 8-15. Children who participate in sports are more likely to experience ankle fractures, with the injury usually occurring because of abnormal twisting or a direct blow to the ankle. Just like adults, kids can break their ankle in other ways as well, such as slip and fall accidents.

Children who struggle with their weight are more likely to experience pediatric ankle fractures because extra weight adds extra strain on their developing bones. Failing to wear proper protective equipment during sports or improper training can also increase the risk of an ankle fracture.

What are the symptoms of a pediatric ankle fracture?

An ankle fracture can cause:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Extreme tenderness
  • Change in the appearance of the ankle
  • Difficulty bearing weight on the ankle

Other injuries, such as ankle sprains, may also cause similar symptoms. If your child experiences any of these problems, reach out to Ankle & Foot Doctors of New Jersey as soon as possible. Early treatment can relieve your child’s symptoms while protecting their bone health as they grow.

How are pediatric ankle fractures treated?

Treatment of pediatric ankle fractures varies with the severity of the fracture, its location, how much growth plate damage occurred, whether the bone moves out of place, and other factors specific to your child’s injury. 

Milder fractures, including those without severe misalignment, often improve without surgery. Dr. Bhuta may perform a closed reduction, in which he repositions the bone for optimal healing without making an incision. Your child may need to wear a short cast as their bone heals. 

If your child has a more complicated fracture, including ones with badly displaced bones or multiple breaks, Dr. Bhuta may perform surgery to restore their bone and optimize healing. Surgery may involve an internal plate, screws, and casting to keep the bone stable as it heals.

At Ankle & Foot Doctors of New Jersey, Dr. Bhuta offers highly customized care with a gentle approach that kids and parents really appreciate. Call the office nearest you or book your child’s appointment online today. 

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