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Because the physis is made of cartilage, not bone, it is not calcified enough to be seen on the X-ray. Many times, physeal fractures cannot be seen on X-ray until there is healing and new bone formed in 3-4 weeks after the injury. Your doctor may diagnose a physeal fracture in your child if there is localized pain, tenderness, and swelling around the growth plate, even if there is not a fracture seen on the X-ray.
The physis is the weakest part of the bone.
No. Growth plate fractures are very common and are not cause for concern about bone health.
Difference in length is rare after these fractures, but does happen on occasion. Depending on the location of the fracture, your doctor may follow your child for at least a year to make sure the bone continues to grow normally.
This depends on which bone is fractured, the pattern of the injury, and how old your child is. Physeal arrest, which is when the physis stops growing, occurs in 1-10% of all physeal injuries. Some bones, like the ones in the fingers, rarely have a long term problem with the growth plates, while the part of the femur (thigh bone) near the knee has a higher risk of problems.
A: Physeal fractures heal very quickly. By 7-10 days, there may be so much healing that the bones cannot be straightened without surgery to re-break through the physis. Having to re-break the physis will put the physis at more risk of being injured. Luckily, the physis, as long as it continues to grow, has a huge ability to straighten the bones as your child grows. This process of straightening the bone through growth is called remodeling.