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Falls, Sprains and Fractures

  • What are falls, sprains, and fractures in children?

    Treating fractures and sprains in children
    Fall injuries are a natural and integral part of a child's development because children assess their limits, learn new skills, and discover new things through climbing, walking, jumping, and running. A fall can lead to a toddler bumping their heads or a fracture. While most falls are harmless, some falls can result in serious injuries such as sprains, fractures, open wounds, head injury, or even death.

    When children fall, a sprain can happen if the ligament that supports the joint is abnormally stretched, twisted, or torn. Unlike a strain, an injury caused by a sprain occurs suddenly. Your child may commonly experience an ankle sprain because a child loves to exercise its gross motor skills like jumping and running.

    When a sprain or fall results in a partial or complete break in the bone, a fracture occurs. Typical child fractures are incomplete fractures because your child's periosteum (dense layer of vascular connective tissue enveloping the bones except at the surfaces of the joints) in growing bones is thicker and more robust compared to adults. Common incomplete fractures in children include greenstick (fracture in a young, soft bone in which the bone bends and breaks) and torus fractures (incomplete fractures of the shaft of a long bone that is characterised by bulging of the cortex).

  • The bones of children are in the process of growth and development, which is why they are more prone to falls, sprains, and fractures. A toddler fracture may occur because of their innate curiosity about new things, and preschoolers or school children may play hard and engage in vigorous or high-speed physical activities like biking, running, or skating.

    Some of the common causes of childhood injuries are:

    • Falls, resulting in cuts, bruises, and/or head injuries
    • Falling from high furniture such as beds, sofas, chairs, or walkers
    • Falling from high playground structures such as monkey bars
    • Slipping on wet floors, toilets
    • Tripping over rugs and obstacles on the floor
    • Getting fingers caught in doors or drawers
    • Touching hot surfaces, resulting in burns and scalds

    Preventing or reducing the risk of falls, sprains, and fractures in children

    It can be quite impossible to totally child-proof your home as your children need to explore new things and learn from new experiences. However, you can create a safe environment to reduce the risk of these injuries. To prevent children from getting a broken arm or fractured elbow, here are some of the childproofing techniques you can do:

    • Block all the stairways by installing child safety gates or protective rails.
    • Make sure to close any reachable windows.
    • Keep away the toys in the hallway that can cause your child to trip or fall.

    It is also best to incorporate calcium-rich foods in your child’s diet to strengthen the bones.

  • Child fracture comes with a range of physical symptoms like pain, inflammation, warmth, redness, bruising, and visible deformity in the injured area. Head injury in kids may manifest as small bumps or a cut, and they may complain of headache, nausea, and lethargy.

  • These common fractures in children are typically diagnosed through an X-ray or CT scan. If the result of the radiologic findings is inconclusive, your child's paediatrician may order an MRI.

  • The treatment of these injuries depends on the severity of the condition. If it's a simple sprained ankle, you can manage the condition by following the R.I.C.E. method to reduce soreness or inflammation:

    • Rest – avoid movement of the affected part
    • Ice – apply cold compress every 1 – 2 hours
    • Compression – compress the affected area using a bandage
    • Elevation – Elevate the limb above the heart

    However, when your child suffers a fracture, even if it is minor, they may need to be evaluated by a medical professional. Your child's paediatrician may try to fix the problem by applying a plastic or fibre glass cast to reconnect and stabilise the broken bones. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen may be given as your child may complain of pain a few days after the cast application. If the fracture is severe, traction or surgery may be done to stabilise the bone further.

    As for head injury in kids, the doctor may need to stitch the scalp to close the wound or, if it is severe, the doctor may refer a traumatic brain injury specialist for possible brain surgery.

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  • Don’t take a toddler's sprained ankle for granted. Severe sprains may lead to fractures or dislocated joints. Fractures are common, and sometimes it can be healed without problems or significant loss of function. However, some fractures may progress to a range of complications from acute conditions like blood loss and infection to chronic diseases, such as osteomyelitis and loss of function.

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    • Cheng Tai Kin

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      Paediatric Medicine
      Sub-specialty:
      Paediatric Medicine - Neonatology

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      Kinder Clinic Pte Ltd
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      319 Joo Chiat Place #03-04
      Parkway East Medical Centre
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      Kinder Clinic Pte Ltd
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      319 Joo Chiat Place #03-04
      Parkway East Medical Centre
      Singapore 427989
      Contact No:
      6446 7100
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      Happy Baby & Child Clinic Pte Ltd
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      Parkway East Medical Centre
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      Sog Clinic For Children
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      E H Low Baby N' Child Clinic Pte Ltd
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      Parkway East Paediatric Clinic
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    • S Sivasankaran

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      Clinic:
      Kinder Clinic Pte Ltd
      Location:
      319 Joo Chiat Place #03-04
      Parkway East Medical Centre
      Singapore 427989
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    There are 7 SpecialistsView All