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ORIF of a Leg Fracture in Children


Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) is surgery to repair your child's broken leg. Orthopedic hardware (such as rods or pins) is used to hold the broken bone together while it heals.

Internal Fixation Device



  • Pain medicine: Your child may be given a prescription pain medicine to 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. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her 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 healthcare provider as directed:

Your child may need to return to have his stitches or cast removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Cast care:

  • Check the skin around the cast, 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 any part of the cast, splint, or brace. It may break.
  • Do not let your child scratch the skin under the cast, splint, or brace by putting a sharp or pointed object down it.
  • If your child has a plaster cast, do not let it get wet. Cover the cast with a plastic bag that is taped closed at the top when he bathes.
  • Have your child move his toes several times a day. This will decrease swelling and stiffness.

Physical therapy:

Your child may need physical therapy after his cast is removed. A physical therapist teaches your child exercises to help improve movement and strength and to decrease pain.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has chills, a cough, or feels weak and achy.
  • Your child is irritable and cries more than usual.
  • Your child says his splint or cast feels tighter and you think his toes are more swollen.
  • There is a bad smell coming from your child's splint or cast.
  • You have any questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your child's toes look pale or blue and feel cold, numb, or tingly.
  • Blood soaks through your child's splint or cast.
  • Your child's cast breaks.
  • Your child has trouble breathing all of a sudden.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.