How is a fracture detected in a very young child?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Children's bones are less thick and more bendable compared with adult bones. They may break more easily. When a bone breaks or cracks, the injury is called a fracture.

Detecting fractures in very young children is not easy. Sometimes a child will not want to move or use the bone(s) in that area as usual. It may hurt to touch. There may be swelling in the area. You might see a bruise. The bones may be angled or not lined up as they normally are (called a deformity).

Injuries to children's bones could have lasting effects. This is most true when a fracture involves the knobby end portions of bones. This is usually close to a joint, where bones come together. It could mean damage to the growth plate. It could affect how well the bone grows later on.

Check with your child's doctor after an injury that you think may involve a broken bone. The doctor can help decide if your child needs to be seen right away or not. An x-ray may be needed to find the location and severity of the fracture. It can also check for less obvious fractures or dislocations in nearby joints.

Continue Learning about Broken Bones in Children

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.