Multiple Fractures

What Are Multiple Fractures in Children?

Many children will break a bone during their childhood. In fact, over 30 percent of girls and about 50 percent of boys are known to have one fracture during childhood. The age range where fractures happen the most are between 11 and 15 years. While multiple finger, hand and foot fractures, especially in a short period of time may be concerning, a more significant fracture history is one that involves the long bones of the body. If a child has had two or more long bone fractures under the age of 10 years or three long bone fractures under the age of 19 years, this would be considered a significant history of multiple fractures. This is especially true if the fractures were from low trauma falls, such as tripping and falling instead of falling from a higher height (like the monkey bars). A is also considered a significant fracture history and should be investigated whether or not there are multiple other compression fractures or long bone fractures.

What Causes Multiple Fractures?

Many health care providers in the pediatric community are worried that lifestyle factors such as worsening nutrition habits, decreased activity levels and increasing obesity levels have led to increased fractures in children over recent years. In addition to this, there can be other health factors that place a child at risk for fracture, such as those seen with low bone density or osteoporosis.

What Are Signs & Symptoms of Multiple Fractures?

Two or more long bone fractures less than 10 years of age or three or more long bone fractures less than 19 years of age. Long bone fractures include the upper arm, forearm, thigh bone, and lower leg, wrists and ankles. Multiple fractures of the smaller bones such as clavicle, hand, fingers, feet and toes can be considered for evaluation if there are a large quantity in a short amount of time or if they occurred with little or no trauma. 

How Are Multiple Fractures Diagnosed?

Your health care provider who is overseeing your child’s primary care or specialty care will note if there are more fractures than would be expected by your child’s age. 

How Are Multiple Fractures Treated?

The individual fractures are managed first. Then, your health care provider can decide if further work up and testing is needed to look for causes of the multiple fractures. If a cause is found, then your child’s team will treat the cause. 

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Multiple Fractures?

  • Risk of decreased strength due to loss of muscle and bone strength during healing process
  • Risk of bone deformity

Additional Resources

For more information, please refer to the following websites: 

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