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Salter-Harris Fracture

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is a Salter-Harris fracture?

A Salter-Harris fracture is a break in your child's bone that goes through a growth plate. Growth plates are tissue that forms new bone on the ends of certain bones to make them longer as your child grows. Examples include thigh bones, forearm bones, and finger bones. When your child is finished growing, the growth plates will harden and become solid bone.

What are the types of Salter-Harris fractures?

Salter-Harris Fractures

What increases my child's risk for a Salter-Harris fracture?

What are the signs and symptoms of a Salter-Harris fracture?

How is a Salter-Harris fracture diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will examine your child and ask when symptoms began. The provider will ask how an injury happened. He or she will gently press on the area to check for swelling and tenderness. He or she will ask your child to show where it hurts and to move the area if possible. X-rays will be used to check for a fracture. CT or MRI pictures may also be needed. Your child may be given contrast liquid to help his or her bones show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not let your child enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has any metal in or on his or her body.

How is a Salter-Harris fracture treated?

Treatment depends on the type of fracture your child has and how severe it is:

What can I do to help my child's fracture heal?


How can sports injuries be prevented?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. 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.

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