Growth Plate Fractures | Symptoms & Causes

Growth plate fractures happen the way any fracture can happen, most commonly through sports or playground accidents. When the break involves a crack through the bone, it’s called a fracture. When the break in the bone goes through the growth plate, it’s called a growth plate fracture.

The Salter Harris classification system can help determine what kind of fracture your child has, but it doesn’t indicate what treatment she will need — your doctor will use imaging tests to decide how to proceed.

What are the symptoms for growth plate fractures?

Growth plate fracture treatment at Boston Children's Hospital

The symptoms of a growth plate fracture vary depending on the degree of seriousness. Sometimes, a child may feel mild pain, and other times the injury may be more visible and urgent. 

Symptoms of a mild growth plate fracture may include:

  • Soreness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness over a growth plate
  • Pain while moving or putting pressure on a limb

Symptoms of a more extreme growth plate fracture may include:

  • Open wounds that make the bone visible
  • Crookedness
  • Other visible deformities