Thursday, May 9, 2013

April Showers Bring May Flowers and…Fractures?

Warmer weather in May brings us flowers and also an increase in pediatric fractures.  While no parent wants to have a child break a bone, the truth is that prior to the age of 16, 42% of boys and 27% of girls will have had at least one fracture.  

Pediatric fractures are more common in the summer, when children are on summer break and doing more physically demanding activities.  The most common time of day for a fracture is 6 pm and this correlates to the time when children are most active.   The rate of fractures increases during puberty for both boys and girls.

The most common location for pediatric fractures is in the upper extremities.  Forearm, hand, elbow, and clavicle account for almost 69% of all pediatric fractures. 

Let’s take a look at where these fractures are occurring.  Of all the fractures that occur on playground equipment, 90% were from a fall off the monkey bars.  About 34 percent of trampoline fractures occur from actually falling off the trampoline.   More than half of skiing injuries occur from hitting stationary objects, but snowboarding is even more dangerous with 2.5 times as many fractures.

So why does a fracture occur?  A fracture happens when the physical force that is placed on a bone is stronger than the bone itself.

When a fracture occurs, it can be placed in two categories: displaced or non-displaced and open or closed.  A displaced fracture is where the two ends of the bone are not lined up.  An open fracture is where the bone breaks through the skin.  So, if you could choose your fracture type, you would want a non-displaced closed fracture.
There are many treatment options for fractures depending on the type, severity, and location of the fracture.  Some fractures can be successfully treated with bracing or casting, while others may need surgery.

Ways to prevent fractures:
-Increase physical exercise to strengthen bones.
-Encourage appropriate intake of calcium and vitamin D for optimal bone health.
-Wear appropriate safety gear.
-Always use seatbelts.
Have a fun and SAFE summer!

Jennifer Eickhoff, FNP-BC, MSN, ATC, LAT

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