What Is Toddler's Fracture Of The Tibia?
What is a toddler's fracture? Symptoms vary, but pain in the affected leg is a major symptom. This isn't good news, but it keeps you informed and prepared.
Toddlers are very active kids. In fact, a toddler shouldn’t sit still for up to an hour, unless something is wrong. This high level of activity is probably why toddlers are prone to several slips and falls everyday. So sometimes, a limping toddler is paid no mind, because they like to fall all the time. But this is risky, because toddler’s fracture symptoms are not easily identified, but the condition is serious. So how does one tell that a toddler has fractured a bone? What signs do you look out for? What exactly is toddler’s fracture? We discuss all of these below, stay with us.
A toddler fracture is a type of broken leg in young children, typically kids between 9 months and 3 years old. It is a spiral break in the tibia (the shin bone in your leg), and it occurs after a child twists their leg during a fall. It’s a very low energy break, and usually it’s a hairline crack without significant damage to the bone or surrounding tissue.
In diagnosing the toddler fracture, a parent brings their child to the doctor after a minor fall. Or after no apparent accident, and the child is limping or unable to put any weight on their leg. The injured leg is rarely swollen but it’s classically tender and especially sensitive to any rotation. For example, turning the foot outward, because this recreates the same rotational force that caused the initial crack. Doctors that suspect this fracture will order x-rays of the leg, it will reveal a hairline in the tibia bone.
The break is usually tiny, even for a toddler. The good news is that it means the injury is really small and will heal quickly.
Pain. Your child may hurt when he tries to walk, lift something, or put pressure on a limb.
Bruising. You may notice this in the area of the injury, and your child may say it feels tender.
Swelling. Your child can also get bumps or other obvious changes in the way his limb looks.
Snapping noise. Sometimes, your child may say that he heard this at the moment he was injured.
Can’t straighten. Your child may have trouble doing this in the area of his injury, like a damaged elbow, for example.
Limping. Kid can’t move a limb like normal. This isn’t always a sign of a fracture, though. And some children can still move it even if it’s broken.
Doctors will put on a cast from the toes, past the knee, all the way to the mid-thigh. They often also bend the knee slightly so that kids can’t walk excessively on the injured leg while it’s in the cast. However, recent studies have shown no increased risk of bone displacement. Or delayed healing when kids walk on their broken leg within the cast.
The doctors will repeat the x-rays 2 weeks after the injury to ensure there are signs of healing.
The cast can go off around 4-6 weeks, as long as the tibia bone is no longer tender. It typically takes 10 weeks for the bone to heal completely. However once there is no pain over the break, and x-rays show signs of healing, there is low risk of re-injury or displacement at the fracture site. So kids can begin walking again as much as they can tolerate.
These injuries almost always heal very well after being casted to protect the bone while it heals.
- Carefully cut any sleeves or pant legs away from the injured area with a pair of scissors. And then make a homemade splint.
- Being careful to keep the limb in the same position, wrap a towel or dishcloth around it. Then place something firm next to the soft cloth, keeping everything in place with bandages, scarves, or even neckties (just don’t tie them too tight or you’ll cut off your little one’s circulation).
- Don’t give the child anything by mouth to drink or to relieve pain without first consulting the doctor.
- Don’t use a cold pack or a cold towel decrease pain; extreme cold can cause injury to the delicate skin of babies and toddlers.
- If your child has broken a leg, do not try to move him or her yourself.
Resource: Bone Talks
Also read: What is osteogenesis imperfecta?