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Fractures and broken bones are an unfortunate part of childhood. In fact, they are the fourth most common injury in kids under six. Most often breaks to bones in the wrist or arm are caused by a tripping while running, or falling off playground equipment.
So how do you know if your child has broken a bone? In some instances, the arm can look crooked, or you may see bone poking through the skin. In these situations, it is best to head straight to the emergency department of your nearest hospital. But more commonly there is no obvious injury apart from pain and some localised swelling. In younger children who may not be able to talk yet, they may cry and you will likely notice a hesitation to use the limb in question.
If you think your child may have a broken bone the best steps are:
- Give them some pain relief (e.g. paracetamol)
- Rest the injured area and stop the movement, if possible, by applying a sling or splint. You can use a newspaper or rolled up towel.
- Apply an ice pack or a pack of frozen peas.
- Elevate the limb to help with swelling.
- Call our clinic, our staff can advise you and book you a same day emergency appointment if need be.
To diagnose an injury our therapists at Apricus Health will take a history of the injury, check your child’s movement and pain points, if a fracture is suspected they’ll arrange an x-ray. The x-ray is an important step as we can review the type, severity and location of the fracture to ensure optimal treatment options are considered. Most child fractures are able to be treated with a cast or a custom-moulded, thermoplastic orthoses – and our therapists are able to explain which may be the best option for each child. For complex fractures we may consult with an orthopaedic surgeon and arrange follow up x-rays to ensure the best outcome.
For most fractures Apricus Health can manage all the ongoing follow up in-house. We will ensure parents have a very clear understanding of time frames for healing, activities that should be avoided, and how to manage pain. The good news is that after adequate time in the splint or cast children generally regain normal use of their limbs by re-engaging in gentle activities and play. For those times however when movement or strength is an issue our therapists will be able to focus the attention on exercises and treatment to get your child back to doing the things they love, within the shortest time frame possible.
For more helpful tips and advice from our expert Occupational Therapists, SEE OUR BLOG