As a child’s skeleton grows and matures, it is not only vulnerable to those injuries encountered by adults, but also to some unique to the growing skeleton. The good news is that most children’s injuries are a result of falls and seldom lead to serious or long-term damage. Just look at kids playing on a jungle gym - it’s a wonder they sustain so few injuries at all!
Dr Mulder restricts his practice to children’s upper limb injuries, rather than those that affect children from birth (congenital conditions). Children seen at the hospital’s Emergency Unit with stable injuries and fractures are often referred to our practice for assessment and treatment - either on an emergency basis or the following day. In some instances it makes sense to wait 48 hours before seeing Mike as this allows time for the swelling to settle before a cast can be applied.
Severe injuries that need emergency treatment will be referred directly to Dr Mulder when he is on call.
The following is a brief overview of the common injuries seen in children:
- COLLARBONE (CLAVICLE)
This is commonly injured during contact sports (rugby, martial arts) and the majority of these painful breaks don’t need surgery. They are treated in a sling and with painkillers. However, some breaks in older children (and especially adolescents) may need surgical attention to prevent permanent shoulder damage.
- HUMERUS FRACTURES (BREAKS OF THE UPPER ARM BONE)
The treatment of these fractures depends of the severity of the break and the age of the child. The vast majority simply need a sling and/or a cast. Repeat X-rays are necessary to monitor bone healing and to make sure that the fracture position is optimal.
- SUPRACONDYLAR HUMERUS FRACTURES
These are serious injuries that occur when a child’s arm is bent backwards. They frequently require emergency surgery to correct the position of the arm and stabilise it with a cast and possibly wires. Although a child may only spend 3 weeks in the cast, the recovery process can be long - it can take months to regain motion in the elbow. Dr Mulder will carefully explain the full implications of the break so that you can be prepared.
- LATERAL CONDYLE FRACTURES
This is another type of serious injury that can happen to a child’s elbow and often needs emergency surgery to reset the bone. After the removal of the wires placed at surgery, it may still take months to recover the full function of the affected elbow.
These fractures are a common result of a child falling. There is immediate pain and often a deformity of the arm. Depending on the severity of the injury, a forearm facture may require straightening in theatre or a cast to protect the bone as it heals.
Wrist fractures are the most common types of injuries we see in the practice. X-rays will determine what treatment required, which varies from manipulation and casting in theatre - to a cast applied in the practice. Our range of colourful and fully waterproof casts help ease the distress of children who suffer a traumatic wrist injury.