Traumatic Growth Arrest

Also known as: physeal fractures, post-traumatic growth disturbance

What is traumatic growth arrest?

When a traumatic injury damages a growth plate in a child who is still growing, this can sometimes stunt growth in that bone and lead to a shortened bone or a deformity over time. This is known as traumatic growth arrest.

What causes traumatic growth arrest?

As the name implies, traumatic growth arrest occurs due to a bone fracture following a traumatic injury that doesn’t heal properly.  

What are the symptoms of traumatic growth arrest?

Symptoms vary based on the severity of the growth plate fracture, as well as the age at which the injury occurred. Shortened bones and limbs, pain, deformity, difficulty with walking and joint movement and other symptoms are all possible outcomes of traumatic growth arrest.

How can traumatic growth arrest affect children?

The younger a child is, the more severe the symptoms of traumatic growth arrest can potentially be. That’s because young children have more growing to do, so one bone in the body can end up much shorter than the other. This makes treatment especially important for younger patients (though it’s important for all).

What are traumatic growth arrest treatments?

Surgery is often required to minimize the impact of a fractured growth plate and also to correct the deformity or limb length discrepancy caused by it.

Reviewed by: Daniel K Ruggles, DO

This page was last updated on: August 03, 2023 12:03 PM