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What I thought was a sprain...was a growth plate fracture for my 6 year old son

by Jessie Hawkins

It was another lazy Sunday...the neighbor kids were over and playing nicely together with my 6 year old son.  They weren't jumping out of trees, they weren't wrestling, they weren't on a trampoline...they were on the landing at the bottom of the stairs with some blankets.  My son's right foot somehow gets "trapped" in the blanket while standing, he loses his balances, rolls his ankle and proceeds to step on it while trying to regain balance.  No biggie right?  Until his ankle was swollen to the size of an orange in less than an hour.  Hmmm I thought...probably sprained.  So I wrapped it, iced it, gave him some motrin and told him to keep it elevated for the rest of the evening.  In the morning it was still swollen and painful to put weight on so off to the clinic we went where I found out just how serious an injury it was!  I was not expecting this.  That simple roll of the ankle and his stepping on his own ankle actually caused a fracture on his growth plate.  This is a big deal because if left untreated the growth plate doesn't heal and the foot (or arm or leg) affected will not continue to grow properly.  wow huh?! X-rays came back, he was fitted for a boot, given lessons from a physical therapist on how to get around on crutches and a pediatric walker, as well as how to do the "butt scoot" to get up and down stairs. Next stop is the Ortho specialist.  We have an appointment this Friday to find out if he'll need surgery or if just the boot or a cast will suffice.  Again, wow.  My poor little man handled this whole ordeal with a calm I've never seen.  I know it's not cancer or something horrendous but a broken ankle for a very active 6 year old...i expected tears and a fuss.  I'm proud of him.  Here is further information on growth plate injuries if you are curious.  I was.

"When you think of growing bones, you might think they grow out from the center of the bone. But the long bones in the legs and arms grow from an area at either end of these bones called the physis, or more commonly, the growth plate. These areas produce new bone tissue and determine the final length and shape of bones in adulthood.

An injured growth plate might not do its job properly, which can lead to crooked or misshapen bones, limbs that are too short, or even arthritis. Fortunately, these occurrences are rare. With recognition and proper treatment, the vast majority of kids recover from growth plate injuries without any long-term consequences." This information was shared from the following site: