Leg Fracture In Children
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
A leg fracture is a break in any of the 3 long bones of your child's leg. The femur is the largest bone and goes from your child's hip to his knee. The fibula and tibia are the 2 bones in your child's lower leg that go from his knee to his ankle. Your child may have a Salter-Harris fracture, which is when a bone breaks through a growth plate.
- Pain medicine: Your child may be given medicine to take away or decrease his pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you give your child his medicine.
- Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's primary healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not helping or if he has side effects. Tell your child's primary healthcare provider if your child takes any vitamins, herbs, or other medicines. Keep a list of the medicines he takes. Include the amounts, and when and why he takes them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits.
- Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age: Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
Follow up with your child's primary healthcare provider or bone specialist as directed:
Your child may need to return to have his splint or stitches removed. He may also need an x-ray to check how well the bone has healed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Your child should rest as much as possible and get plenty of sleep.
Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel, and place it on your child's leg for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as directed.
Splint or brace care:
Your child may need a brace or splint. These devices help decrease pain and keep his leg bones from moving while they heal.
- Your child may take a bath as directed. Do not let your child's splint or brace get wet. Before bathing, cover the splint or brace with 2 plastic trash bags. Tape the bags to your child's skin above the splint to seal out the water. Have your child keep his leg out of the water in case the bag breaks.
- Check the skin around the splint or brace every day. You may put lotion on any red or sore areas.
- Do not let your child push down or lean on the splint or brace because it may break.
- Do not let your child scratch the skin under the splint by putting a sharp or pointed object inside the splint.
Crutch or cane use:
Your child may need to use crutches or a cane for support when he walks. Use crutches or a cane as directed.
Your child may need physical therapy. A physical therapist will help him with exercises to help make his bones and muscles stronger.
Contact your child's primary healthcare provider or bone specialist if:
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child's splint or brace is too tight.
- There are new blood stains or a bad smell coming from under the splint or brace.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your child has increased pain in his injured leg that does not go away.
- Your child's splint or brace breaks or is damaged.
- Your child's leg or toes are numb.
- Your child's skin or toenails below the injured leg become swollen, cold, white, or blue.
- Blood soaks through your child's bandage.
- Your child has chest pain or severe shortness of breath.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.