Ankle fractures are common childhood injuries. It includes damage to one or some bones that makes up the ankle –tibia, fibula and talus. The ankle fractures among children are likely to involve the tibia and fibula. The fractures at the ends of the tibia and fibula usually include the growth plates. The growth plates are areas of developing cartilage tissue that control bone growth and determine the length and form of the adult bone.
What are the possible causes?
Ankle fractures among children usually occur while engaging in sports or strenuous play when the lower leg or foot of the child twist unpredictably.
Sports that involve lateral movement and jumping such as in basketball can put a child at higher risk for injuries including ankle fractures. An example is when jumping to shoot, defend or rebound where the child might land on another player’s foot which cause the foot to roll or twist interior or exteriorly.
Unless an X-ray of the ankle is taken, it is seldom hard to distinguish an ankle sprain and a serious fracture in the ankle. Primarily, both sprains and fractures might cause swelling and pain.
A distinctive indication that a child has a fracture is inability to place weight on the affected ankle. Any fracture that involves an open wound is an issue for significant concern and the child must be taken to the nearest healthcare facility as soon as possible.
What are growth plates?
The extended bones of the body do not grow from the middle outwards. Instead, they grow at every endpoint of the bone close to the growth plate. Once a child reach full maturity, the growth plates solidify into dense bone.
Since the growth plates are the last region of the bones to solidify, they are prone to fractures. Generally, the ligaments that link the tibia and fibula to the talus bone are sturdier than the growth plates. This is the reason why an ankle twist which results to a sprain in an adult is likely to cause a growth plate fracture among children.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on ankle fractures is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage fractures including ankle fractures, register for a first aid and CPR course with Mississauga First Aid.