Apex Sports Clinic

Growth plate fractures

Let’s understand Growth plate fractures

Growth plate fractures

Is your young athlete complaining of pain after a big game? It could be more than just a bruise or sprain. Growth plate fractures are a common yet often overlooked injury in children and adolescents involved in sports. Understanding this condition is crucial for ensuring your child’s healthy development and quick return to their favorite activities.

Growth plate fractures

Is your young athlete complaining of pain after a big game? It could be more than just a bruise or sprain. Growth plate fractures are a common yet often overlooked injury in children and adolescents involved in sports.

What’s the Condition?

Growth plate fractures occur in the soft areas of developing cartilage at the ends of your child’s long bones—think arms and legs. These growth plates are critical as they are the last part of the bone to harden, making them particularly vulnerable to injury. If left untreated, these fractures can affect bone growth and lead to long-term complications.

What Causes Growth Plate Fractures?

High-impact sports like football, basketball, gymnastics, and skateboarding can lead to falls or collisions, resulting in growth plate fractures. Activities that involve repetitive motion, such as running, pitching in baseball, or performing gymnastics routines, can stress growth plates over time. Everyday accidents, like falls or direct blows to the limbs during play, can also cause these fractures.

Spotting the Symptoms

Your young athlete might not always express their pain clearly. Here are key signs to watch for:

  • Severe pain near the ends of long bones in the arms or legs.
  • Noticeable swelling and warmth around the injured area.
  • Trouble bearing weight on an injured leg or moving an affected arm.
  • The limb may look crooked or shorter compared to the other side.
  • Bruises around the injury site are common.

Effective Treatments

When it comes to treating growth plate fractures, timely and appropriate care is essential.

1. Keeping the injured limb immobile with a cast or splint helps stabilise the fracture and promote healing. This prevents further displacement of the bone fragments and allows the growth plate to heal properly.

2. In some cases, the fractured bone fragments can be realigned without surgery through closed reduction. This involves manipulating the bones back into place manually or using traction techniques under sedation or anaesthesia.

Once the fracture has healed sufficiently, gradually reintroduce sports and physical activities under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Surgery Options for Growth Plate Fractures

Closed Reduction and Internal Fixation (CRIF):


This minimally invasive surgery involves realigning the bone fragments without making a large incision. Once the bones are properly aligned, they are stabilized using internal fixation devices such as pins, screws, or wires.


Less tissue damage and quicker recovery compared to open surgery.

Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF):


This surgery is performed when closed reduction is not possible or effective. The surgeon makes an incision to directly access and realign the bone fragments. Internal fixation devices are then used to stabilize the growth plate.


Provides a more accurate alignment of complex fractures, ensuring proper healing and growth.

External Fixation:


In cases where internal fixation is not suitable, external fixation involves placing pins or screws into the bone above and below the fracture site. These are connected to an external frame that holds the bones in place while they heal.


Allows for adjustments to be made during the healing process and is useful for fractures with significant swelling or those at risk of infection.

Physeal Bar Resection:


If a bone bridge (physeal bar) forms across the growth plate, it can cause abnormal bone growth. This surgery involves removing the bar to restore normal growth. Sometimes a filler material, such as fat or cartilage, is placed in the gap to prevent reformation of the bar.


Helps in preserving the growth potential of the affected bone.

Post-Surgical Management

A structured program to regain motion, strength, and flexibility, introduced gradually.

  • Carefully reintroducing sports and activities to prevent re-injury, under professional guidance.
  • Regular check-ups to monitor healing, remove stitches, and address any issues.
  • Ensuring the growth plate heals properly and does not affect overall bone growth.

Stay Ahead of the Game

Growth plate fractures are serious but manageable with the right approach. Our team is dedicated to providing top-notch care to ensure your young athlete recovers fully and quickly.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment and give your child the best chance at a swift, healthy recovery.

Schedule An Appointment

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Dr.Foo Gen Lin_Apex Sports Clinic