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