Causes and Symptoms of Ankle Fractures in Children

Ankle fractures are common injuries in Children. This is largely attributed to the lack of fully developed strong bones in them and the increased intensity of activities in their daily lifestyle. Ankle fractures occur when there is a break in one of the ankle bones namely the tibia, fibula or talus. Ankle fractures in children usually involve either both the tibia and fibula instead of the talus due to the involvement of growth plates responsible for the regulation of bone growth. Immediate medical attention should be sought as delayed treatment will have a long term irreversible impact on the growth and shape of the adult bone.

Causes

Twisting

Children usually fracture their ankles during intense activities such as basketball, soccer or volleyball. Twisting occurs unexpectedly and no one can predict the exact action that will occur. Twisting can happen while jumping and landing awkwardly or a sudden direction change.

Growth plates

The outside long bones do not growth from the centre. It actually grows from the ends of the bones and when a child becomes an adult, these growth plates will harden up into a bone on its own. Since growth plates are the last few bones in the body to fully form, they are weaker in mechanical strength and are at a higher risk of fracture. As a result, twisting that occurs from the scenarios mentioned above will usually lead to growth plate fractures.

Missing a step

Fractures resulting from missing a step on the stairs are common injuries especially in children due to their lack of ability to react instantly. The sudden jerking action will lead to a resultant twist which will cause a broken bone to happen.

Symptoms

Bruising and swelling

Bruising and swelling are the most common and almost immediate symptom of an ankle fracture. This is due to the body’s defense system rushing all the blood to the affected area to fight any infections, leading to an increase in fluid amount.

Pain

The ankle will be extremely painful and tender to touch. Bearing weight on the injured ankle will be an almost impossible task and slight movements will result in a sharp pain.

Bone fragments poking out

The most obvious symptom would be the sight of a bone fragment pushing against the skin. This is extremely dangerous and immediate medical attention is required in order to push back the bone to its proper place through surgery.

Ankle fractures in children are common injuries in children and can lead to serious long term complications on the bone development in them. Medical attention should be sought and self medication should not be attempted.