- Clinical science
Pediatric fractures often have distinct fracture patterns due to the unique properties of growing bones. The periosteum in growing bones is thicker and stronger than in adult bones, which is why children are more prone to more incomplete fractures, such as the greenstick fracture or torus fracture. In addition, the periosteum is metabolically active. This feature also explains why childhood fractures heal faster than fractures in adults. are fractures of the epiphyseal plate, also known as the growth plate or the physis of long bones. These fractures only arise in children and adolescents, whose skeletal growth is not yet complete. are classified into 5 types according to the extent of damage to the growth plate and joint involvement.
- Definition: fractures in which the fracture line is either absent or does not completely traverse the width of the bone (an intact periosteum and cortex are seen on at least one side of the bone)
- Mechanism of injury: : usually a result of indirect axial force (e.g., fall on an outstretched hand, fall from a height) that leads to bending stress (greenstick fracture) or impaction (torus fracture)
|Characteristics of incomplete fractures |
|Type of incomplete fracture||Radiographic findings||Most common site||Treatment|
|Buckle fracture (torus fracture)|| || |
|Greenstick fracture|| |
|Bowing fracture|| |
*Acceptable angulation on X-ray 
In greenstick fractures, the bone bends and breaks like a green (young) stick.
Minor angulations in pediatric fractures do not require manual reduction because they are often compensated during remodeling and growth.
- Definition: physeal or growth plate fracture
- Peak incidence: : most frequently occur during growth spurts at the beginning of puberty (11–12 years for girls and 13–14 years for boys) 
- Most common sites: distal radius and the distal humerus
- History of trauma (e.g., fall or collision)
- Joint pain at rest or with movement
- Swelling of the joint
- Focal tenderness to palpation around the physis
- Decreased range of motion
- Inability to bear weight on the injured side
Mild clinical symptoms may lead to misdiagnosis.
- Type I: transverse fractures of the physis, separating the epiphysis from the metaphysis
- Type II: transverse fractures of the metaphysis and physis, which often involve separation of a triangular section of the metaphysis; most common type of
- Type III: transverse fractures of the physis and epiphysis; may extend to the joint and affect the articular surface
- Type IV: fractures through the metaphysis, physis, and epiphysis, that enter the joint
- Type V: fractures characterized by impaction and disruption of the physis; occur due to a crush or compression injury
- X-ray (AP and lateral views): Physeal widening may be the only finding.
- MRI: may be helpful if radiographic findings inconclusive
- Salter-Harris types I and II
- Salter-Harris types III and IV
- Salter-Harris type V: Treatment depends on age of injury at diagnosis.
Disruption of growth and bone deformity (especially Salter-Harris types III–V)
- Results in limb-length discrepancies and/or angular deformities
- Younger patients are more likely to experience growth arrest.
- Excessive limb growth (rare)