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Sacramento Pediatric Foot Fracture Lawyer

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Sacramento Pediatric Foot Fracture Lawyer

infant feet

Broken bones are common in young children.  A child bone fracture, also called a pediatric fracture, occurs when a child younger than 18 breaks a bone. A pediatric fracture is different from an adult bone fracture because children’s bones are still growing.

A broken bone in childhood can affect a child’s growth. If your child has suffered a pediatric fracture in an accident due to someone else’s negligent actions, you may be able to file a personal injury claim for compensation. Reach out to our pediatric fracture lawyers at (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly advice. Our experienced attorneys can walk you through the legal process to get you the full compensation you deserve to cover your damages and losses.

In this article:

Talus Fractures

Fractures of the talus are extremely rare in children.  Most fractures involve the neck of the talus.  The mechanism of injury is the forced dorsiflexion of the foot from a fall or a motor vehicle accident. Fractures of the dome and talar body are extremely rare.

The patients usually have pain when trying to walk on the foot.  The range of motion of the ankle is painful, and there is swelling of the hindfoot.  A neurovascular examination should be done as these may be injured. X-rays of the front side and mortise views of the ankle can show most fractures.  Sometimes a CT can be done to plan surgical intervention, and an MRI exam can identify occult injuries to the talus.

Treatment can be without surgery if the fracture is undisplaced.  A long leg cast with a flexed knee is recommended for 6-8 weeks, with a walking cast used after that for another 2-3 weeks.  Surgery is recommended for displaced fractures unless they are minimally displaced.  Surgery involves the placement of Kirschner wires to hold the fracture ends together.  A short leg cast is used for 6-8 weeks after that.

Complications include osteonecrosis (bone cell death) that tends to occur within six months of injury.

The video discusses pediatric care in young children.

Calcaneus Fractures

This is a rare injury usually occurring in older kids and adolescents.  Most do not involve the joint.  A third of these injuries are associated with other injuries, including lower extremity and lumbar fractures.  The mechanism of injury is a fall from a great height.  Open fractures are seen in lawnmower injuries.

Patients usually cannot walk on the leg.  There is pain, swelling, and tenderness at the site of the injury.  The leg and the lumbar spine should be assessed for secondary injuries.  The injury can be missed in 44-55 percent of cases.

X-rays can show these types of fractures in most cases.  Comparison views with the other foot can help identify disruptions in certain measured angles.  Technetium bone scans can show occult fractures not seen on a routine x-ray. CT scanning can help define the fracture better, especially if they are intra-articular.

Nonoperative treatment with cast immobilization can be done in fractures that are not displaced and do not involve the joint.  Surgery is recommended for displaced fractures involving the joint surface.  It is important to restore the joint surface; this is usually done by placing a lag screw in to hold the fracture fragments together.

Complications include post-traumatic arthritis, heel widening, nonunion, and compartment syndrome.

Tarsometatarsal Fractures

This is extremely uncommon in young children and more common in older children.  This involves the joints between the tarsus and the metatarsals that together form the arch of the foot. The mechanism of injury includes direct injuries in which a heavy object is dropped onto the foot, which squashes the arch.  Indirect injuries are more common and involve violent abduction and forced flexion of the foot, and twisting of the forefoot.

The patient often has swelling on the top of the foot with an inability to ambulate or painful ambulation.  There may be a deformity due to the spontaneous reduction of the ligaments.  Tenderness over the tarsometatarsal joint can be found.  Twenty percent of these fractures are initially missed. An x-ray can show these fractures, especially if oblique views are made.

Treatment can be without surgery if the displacement is minimal. When the swelling goes down, a short leg cast is applied for 5-6 weeks or until asymptomatic.  A cast boot can be used after that until the patient ambulated well.  If the fracture is displaced, a closed reduction can take place under general anesthesia.

Surgery is necessary if reduction can’t be made using external means.  Percutaneous Kirschner wires are used to maintain reduction.  They are left protruding from the skin so that they can be removed later.  A short leg cast is then placed for four weeks.  The wires are then removed, and the cast is discontinued.  Complications include ongoing pain and an angular deformity of the joint.

Metatarsal Fractures

Sixty percent of pediatric foot fractures involve metatarsals.  Stress fractures are uncommon but still possible.  The mechanism of injury is direct when it involves dropping a heavy object onto the foot.  Indirect fractures are more common and result from axial loading to the foot with force transmitted through the plantarflexed ankle or from torsion on the foot. A “bunk bed fracture” occurs when a child jumps from a bunk bed, landing on a plantarflexed foot.  Stress fractures can happen with long-distance runners.

Patients with this fracture have pain when attempting to walk on the foot.  There may be minimal swelling if the fracture is nondisplaced.  Compartment syndrome and neurovascular compromise are possible.  X-rays of the foot usually show the fracture, but bone scanning can help if fractures are suspected but are not seen on x-ray.

Treatment is usually done without surgery.  Splinting is done first, followed by a short leg cast.  A short leg cast can be placed in nondisplaced fractures for 3-6 weeks until the x-ray shows healing.  Fifth metatarsal fractures may need an intramedullary screw to hold the fracture together because these do not heal and the other metatarsals.  Stress fractures are treated with a short leg walking cast for two weeks or until walking is painless.

Surgery is necessary if there is compartment syndrome.  There are nine compartments in the foot, and fasciotomy should be done to release the pressure in all nine compartments.  Unstable fractures require percutaneous pinning with Kirschner wires.  Remodeling is likely in kids, so that some degree of angulation and displacement is acceptable.  Open reduction and pinning are used when closed reduction is not possible.  After surgery, a short leg cast for three weeks is needed to remove pins. Then a walking cast is used for 2-4 weeks. Complications include malunion of the fracture and compartment syndrome.

Phalanges Fractures

These are uncommon fractures in kids.  The mechanism of injury is direct trauma to the toes from a heavy object dropped on the foot.  Indirect injuries can happen with rotational forces on the toes.  The patient usually presents with guarding of the forefoot.  There is bruising and swelling of the affected toes.  A neurovascular injury is possible and must be assessed.  The toe should be examined for open fractures.  X-rays of the toe usually identify the fracture with x-rays of the unaffected side done for comparison.

Treatment is almost always nonoperative.  Traction can correct shortening and angulation of the toe.  The toe can be buddy-taped with gauze placed between the toes to prevent skin breakdown of the toes.  There should be no kicking or running in sports for 2-3 weeks.

Surgery is reserved for fractures that can’t be reduced externally.  Some rotational injuries need surgery to correct.  Intramedullary Kirschner wire placement can hold the fracture together easily. If the nailbed is injured, it should be repaired.  The Kirschner wires are removed after three weeks.  After surgery, a firm supportive orthosis should be placed for about 3 weeks.  Complications include malunion of the toes, especially with proximal phalanx fractures.

Sacramento Pediatric Foot Fracture Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, an injury lawyer in Sacramento who has handled many foot fracture cases and aware of the dangerous aftereffects they can have. Please call our injury lawyers anytime for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 4.6.21]