It happens: Your child had a tumble from their scooter, or collided with another child on the trampoline. Maybe they sustained an injury during one of their soccer games. You think it’s probably a sprain, but you’re not sure.
Now, getting your child evaluated by a medical provider doesn’t necessarily mean a trip to the emergency department. The Orthopedic Walk-In Clinic at ThedaCare Medical Center-Orthopedic, Spine and Pain is a good option to get your child the treatment they require.
“Our goal is to evaluate a child’s injury and begin the healing process so they may return to normal activities as quickly as possible,” said David Wilson, a Certified Physician Assistant at ThedaCare Medical Center-Orthopedic, Spine and Pain. “Coming in to be evaluated can be a little overwhelming for children. Often, they are hurt and in pain, and our goal is to provide an initial evaluation of the injury, taking x-rays when appropriate, and developing a plan of care. We are here to help them feel at ease.”
A child’s bone may be broken if there is persistent pain, such as discomfort that lasts all night and isn’t helped by Tylenol or ibuprofen. Parents may notice swelling at the site of the injury, or possibly a bump, or the limb doesn’t look straight anymore, Wilson said.
The Walk-In Clinic is staffed by medical providers who specialize in Orthopedic Care and athletic trainers who understand sports injuries and rehabilitation, Wilson said. They can manage the commonly-seen fractures in children, including breaks to the wrist, clavicle, elbow, ankle or foot.
The reasons for injuries can run the gamut, but falls at the playground or from a scooter are sometimes factors. And unfortunately, trampolines are often a culprit.
“If you’re jumping with other kids, you can end up colliding and falling, and falling awkwardly,” Wilson said. “And there you may see a wrist fracture, or you may even see what we call a torus fracture in the ankle or the lower leg region.”
Common types of fractures that can occur in children include:
- A “buckle fracture,” also known as a Torus fracture, which means the bone has buckled or bent, and may be a crack to the outer edge of the bone, but not a complete break. It’s very common in children and is frequently seen as a fracture in the wrist, particularly after a fall.
- A “greenstick fracture” occurs when the bone bends and cracks but does not separate into pieces, similarly to when you try to break a green stick. This fracture occurs in children that are younger than age 10.
- A “complete fracture” is a break that occurs through the bone. It’s called a transverse break when it is straight across the bone, an oblique break is one that occurs on an angle, and a comminuted fracture when the bone is in multiple pieces.
- A “physeal fracture” is a type of fracture that occurs at the growth plate and is exclusive to children that are growing. Special care is taken to identify and treat these as they can impact the long-term growth of the bone.
- A “compound fracture” is one in which there is also an open wound, such as if the bone is protruding from the skin. These types of fractures should be seen in the Emergency Department. Parents also should choose to take their kids to the Emergency Department if there are other injuries in addition to the potential break, Wilson said.
“For example, if the child fell from their scooter, and it appears they have a broken wrist, and maybe they also bumped their head, that’s when you’d want to visit the emergency room,” he said. “Or if there’s any loss of consciousness, or a bone sticking out, those type of things need to go to the emergency room.”
For most childhood breaks, the ThedaCare Orthopedic Walk-In Clinic can provide evaluation and treatments including splint, sling or crutches. In most cases, children who have sustained a fracture will receive a splint first and then a cast at a later appointment to allow for swelling to occur at the injury site, Wilson said.
A follow-up appointment will be made with a non-surgical orthopedic sports medicine provider to provide a more definitive plan of care and follow the fracture until it is completely healed, Wilson said.
The fracture may also require evaluation for possible surgery. When this happens, the clinic staff will contact orthopedic surgery trauma specialists or another specialist, he said.
In most cases, all treatment and rehabilitation can be handled at ThedaCare Medical Center-Orthopedic, Spine and Pain.
“You would not need to go to the emergency room or urgent care,” Wilson said. “You can just start with us, where we have expertise in caring for bone injuries. We can help make the process go smoothly for the patient, and help them get back to the activities they love.”
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health and well-being of the communities it serves in Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 17 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including eight hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their unique, best lives. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.
For more information, visit thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on social media. Members of the media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.