Growth Plate Injuries affect the developing tissue near the end of long bones in children and adolescents. Up to a third of all fractures treated in children are Growth Plate Injuries, as the growth plates are the weakest spots in a child’s skeleton and are more prone to injury than other parts of the body.
Growth plates allow bones to grow and lengthen as a child increases in size until they’ve completed their growth cycle (age 14 for girls, age 16 for boys). By the time they’ve reached this point, the cartilage that previously comprised their growth plates has become hardened bone.
Growth Plate Injuries are more likely to occur in boys than girls. Since a girl’s growth plates harden at an earlier age, they’re less vulnerable to injury than a boy’s at the same point in time. These types of injuries most commonly occur in the thigh bone, lower leg bones, outer forearm bone, ankle, foot, hip, and long finger bones.