Fractures, or broken bones, are among the most common sports injuries, especially in youth sports. If your child breaks their bone during a game or practice, surgery may be the best course of treatment. But how do you know if this is the case? This guide will break down bone fracture treatment options and how doctors know when surgery is necessary.  

How Do Doctors Treat Broken Bones?

When you bring your child to the sports medicine urgent care clinic, the doctor will first assess the symptoms of the fracture. They’ll check for bruising and swelling, as well as any visible deformities. After this initial examination, the staff will take an x-ray of the limb. The best course of treatment will depend on the x-ray results. 

If the bone is out of place, the doctor may reposition the bone before casting it. Cast immobilization is ideal for stable fractures or other fractures that will heal on their own. This is the case with most minor fractures. Since children are still growing, their bones will often heal well without additional intervention. Doctors may apply a functional cast, brace, or splint depending on the type of fracture. 

When Is Surgery Necessary?

While many fractures will heal successfully with casting or splinting, more severe fractures or those on certain body parts may require surgery. Here are some cases when a doctor may recommend surgery for your child’s orthopedic injury:

  • Complex Fractures:

    • If the bone is shattered into pieces and won’t stay together with casting alone, a surgeon may need to place plates, pins, or screws to keep the bone pieces in place while the fracture heals. 
  • Bone or Joint Displacement:

    • Surgery may also be necessary when a bone or joint is displaced by the fracture, which is common in areas like the elbow. 
  • Growth Plate Fractures:

    • Children have growth plates at the end of their bones that are key to healthy development. Surgery is often necessary in growth plate fractures to ensure that the break doesn’t hinder your child’s growth in the long-term. 
  • Open Fractures:

    • If the fracture caused the bone to pierce through the skin, surgery will be necessary to put the bone back in place and prevent infection. 

The orthopedic doctor will recommend treatment based on the location and severity of your child’s fracture. If surgery is the best course of action, the doctor will estimate how long your child will need to recover. In some cases, the surgeon will need to remove the pins and plates once the fracture has healed. 

While the idea of orthopedic surgery can be scary for both you and your child, this treatment will allow your child to get back on their feet and avoid complications in the future. Here at Sport Ortho Urgent Care, we want to make sure that your child’s sports injury treatment starts on the right note. Our sports medicine urgent care clinic provides in-house diagnostics, as well as treatments like casting, splinting, and bracing for adult and youth sports injuries. While we provide all of our treatment services on a walk-in basis at our Hendersonville, Mt. Juliet, and Murfreesboro, TN offices, you can also contact us today to book an appointment.

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