Pediatric Fracture & Fracture Treatment

Nicklaus Children's is South Florida’s leader in treating children with broken bones. The Department of Orthopedics manages more than 4,000 pediatric fractures each year.

What is a fracture?

A fracture is a break in the bone that occurs when more force is applied to the bone than the bone can withstand. Fractures are also known as broken bones. Arm bones are fractured more often than other bones.

What are the differences between splinting and casting?

Splints – also known as “half-casts” – provide less support than casts but are easier to use and can be adjusted. They can be tightened or loosened easily, depending on the swelling of the limb. If the injured area swells, a cast could become too tight and reduce blood circulation. 

Casts – provide more support and protection for a limb injured or broken. Casts are made from plaster or fiberglass and can be molded to the injured arm or leg shape. This plaster or fiberglass layer protects the injured bone and prevents movement while the bone heals.

Signs and symptoms of a suspected fracture

The signs and symptoms of a fracture include:

  • pain or swelling
  • obvious deformity in the injured area
  • difficulty using or moving the injured area in a normal manner
  • warmth, bruising or redness in the injured area

Seek medical care immediately if your child displays any of the symptoms of a fracture.

If my child is splinted, when will the child receive a cast?

If a cast is not medically necessary upon your visit to the Urgent Care Center or Emergency Department (ED), you will be asked to make an appointment with a fracture specialist with the Orthopedic, Sports Health and Spine Institute within one week. The phone number to schedule an appointment is 305-662-8366.

Why does my child need a pediatric orthopedist?

Children who are still growing should be under the care of a pediatric orthopedist for treatment of broken arms, broken legs or other fractures. A pediatric orthopedist can coordinate ongoing care when a growth plate in a limb is affected by the fracture and provide complete treatment for the injury.

The Orthopedic, Sports Health and Spine Institute at Nicklaus Children’s offers appointments for pediatric orthopedic care at the hospital’s main campus as well as locations in Pinecrest, Miramar and West Kendall.