Advertisement

How can I tell if my child has a broken bone?

One way to tell if your child has a broken bone is the obvious symptom of bone sticking out of skin. In this video, Corey Gill, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Medical City Children's Hospital also details some of the more subtle signs of a broken bone.
The classic signs of a fracture are pain, swelling and deformity (which looks like a bump or change in shape of the bone). However, if a break isn't displaced (when the pieces on either side of the break are out of line), it may be harder to tell.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
It is not always immediately clear whether a child has broken a bone or not. Broken bones typically aren't a frequent problem at early ages; that's because very small children don't fall with enough force or have enough body weight to really break a bone. And bones are tough; they can take a fair amount of bending before they actually break. But as children enter the playground age, their risk increases. One way you can tell if there's a break at the point of an injury is if your child can pinpoint one exact spot where there's much more tenderness than other spots around the area. He may also complain of nausea, though not always. Sometimes a child with a broken bone can continue to play, and you may not realize it's an issue until a few days later. One hint is if the child avoids using that limb.
YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

More About this Book

YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

There’s little doubt that parenting can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences you’ll ever have. But it can be plenty tough, too: Around the clock, you’re working to keep your...

Continue Learning about Broken Bones in Children

How should I protect my child’s skin from irritation from a cast?
Michael E. Raemisch, MDMichael E. Raemisch, MD
There are ways to protect your child’s skin from getting irritated: • During the first 24 hours a...
More Answers
How do I take care of my child when his or her cast is itching?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
If your child has itching from a cast, turn a hair dryer on the cool setting and aim it under the ca...
More Answers
Why is it important to have an expert treat your child's fracture?
Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at P/SLRocky Mountain Hospital for Children at P/SL
Children are not just “little adults” when it comes to their fractures, as their bones are growing a...
More Answers
Which bones do children commonly break?
Dr. Michael Roizen, MDDr. Michael Roizen, MD
Common broken bones include: collarbones and wrists, from falls and bracing for falls; fingers, from...
More Answers

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.