Posted by Michael Barber, October 02, 2013 (last updated on June 24, 2019)
With school back in session, kids are more susceptible to bone injuries. Whether they are in the playground or involved in team sports, it's often hard to tell if a bone is broken or just bruised. What should you look for if a child is injured and when is it time to seek out retail clinics staffed with medical professionals?
Upper Extremity Injuries
Kid's Health says "Most fractures occur in the upper extremities: the wrist, the forearm and above the elbow." The reason these areas are more apt to get an injury resulting in a fracture is because it's natural for kids to reach out to stop a fall.
Any suspected bone injury should be looked at immediately so know the urgent care locations near your home and your child's school. Some telltale signs may be if you (or your child) hear a "snap" or "grinding" noise when the injury occurred. Chances are these sounds combined with difficulty in moving, touching or pressing on the area may mean the bone is fractured.
Along with playground activities, kids involved in any type of after school organized sports may suffer leg bone injuries. Again, being prepared and doing an Internet search on "urgent care centers near me" will shorten the time it takes to receive the proper treatment.
Leg bone injuries present with swelling, tenderness or bruising around the injured area. Your child may hear a snap or grinding noise, and if they can't put weight on the affected leg, it's time to seek medical care to rule out a fracture.
Along with bruising, tenderness, swelling and hearing a snap during play, if your child falls and you can clearly see a deformity in the arm, leg, hand or wrist, the bone may be fractured. In severe fractures, the bone may poke through the skin requiring you to find an emergency walk-in clinic location.
With fractured bones, it is also difficult to touch or put pressure on the affected area. For example if it's a leg bone injury, your child may not be able to stand or walk without experiencing severe pain.
Bone Injuries and Shock
For some children, experiencing a bone injury or break is not only painful but can also cause the child to go into shock. And, even if you can't tell if the bone is displaced, meaning you don't see a deformity, it doesn't mean the bone isn't broken. According to the Mayo Clinic shock symptoms after bone injuries include:
- Cool or clammy skin
- Weak and rapid pulse
- Dilated pupils
- Confusion or overly anxious
Because shock combined with a bone injury can be life threatening, immediate urgent care is necessary.
If You Suspect Shock After a Bone Injury
If you see and hear all the signs of a bone injury, including shock, call 911 or immediately take your child to receive emergency medical treatment. While waiting for help it's essential to make your child lie down and elevate their feet, if possible. You should also check to make sure the child is breathing normally. Loosen your child's clothing or sports uniform. Do not give the child anything by mouth even if they complain of thirst. Leave the care to the professionals.
It's almost impossible to prevent bone injuries, especially with all the sports activities and play our kids our involved in each day. If you know what to look and listen for, and seek immediate medical care, your child's bone injury will be diagnosed and cared for properly.