Author(s): Wuerz TH, Gurd DP
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Abstract Ankle fracture is the second most common fracture type in children, and physeal injury is a particular concern. Growing children have open physes that are relatively weak compared with surrounding bone and ligaments, and traumatic injuries can cause physeal damage and fracture. Tenderness to palpation over the physis can aid in the clinical diagnosis of ankle fracture. Swelling, bruising, and deformity may be identified, as well. Plain radiographs are excellent for initial evaluation, but CT may be required to determine displacement and to aid in surgical planning, particularly in the setting of intra-articular fractures. The Salter-Harris classification is the most widely used system to determine appropriate management and assess long-term prognosis. Complications of physeal injury include shortening and/or angular deformity. Tillaux and triplane fractures occur in the 18-month transitional period preceding physeal closure, which typically occurs at age 14 years in girls and age 16 years in boys. Management is determined by the amount of growth remaining, with the intent of maintaining optimum function while limiting the risk of physeal damage and joint incongruity.
This article was published in J Am Acad Orthop Surg
and referenced in Emergency Medicine: Open Access