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Leg Fracture In Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO 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 healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- 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 cast 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.
Cast or brace care:
Your child may need a cast or brace. 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 cast or brace get wet. Before bathing, cover the cast or brace with 2 plastic trash bags. Tape the bags to your child's skin above the cast to seal out the water. Have your child keep his leg out of the water in case the bag breaks. If a plaster cast gets wet and soft, call your child's primary healthcare provider. You can dry the wet part of the cast using a hair dryer set on low or no heat.
- Check the skin around the cast or brace every day. You may put lotion on any red or sore areas.
- If your child has a hip spica cast, you will be taught to help your child use the bathroom and take a bath. You will learn how to clean the cast and keep it dry. You will also learn how to move and dress your child. Tell your child's primary healthcare provider if his toes become swollen, cold, numb, pale, or blue.
- Do not let your child push down or lean on the cast or brace because it may break.
- Do not let your child scratch the skin under the cast by putting a sharp or pointed object inside the cast.
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 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 cast or brace is too tight.
- There are new blood stains or a bad smell coming from under the cast.
- You have questions about your child's condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Your child has increased pain in his injured leg that does not go away.
- Your child's cast 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 or cast.
- 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.