Dr. Kosmas Kayes, OrthoIndy pediatric orthopedics specialist explains what you need to know about children and orthopedic injuries.
Q. As an orthopedic pediatrics specialist what are the most common conditions you evaluate in the office?
A. Fractures, sports injuries, overuse injuries, bone dysplasias, cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular disorders and congenital or developmental deformities.
Q. How are these conditions treated?
A. Most injuries can be treated non-operatively; some require surgery or simple closed reductions (or ‘setting’) of the fracture in younger patients. Neuromuscular conditions and deformities often require surgery. Some patients with neuromuscular or genetic conditions are followed throughout their childhood.
Q. How do these conditions play a part in how the child develops as an adult? Such as, if a child fractures his/her arm, how will the bone develop?
A. Most fractures heal completely back to normal without any problems. If it is in a joint it can lead to early arthritis. If it involves the growth plate it can cause growth abnormalities such as a shortened extremity or a deformity if it is a partial growth arrest. If a child has a genetic or neuromuscular disorder then it can affect the growth and development of the child in many different ways.
Q. As a parent, what is the best course of action to take when a child complains of an injury?
A. If it is serious injury with a lot of pain, swelling and deformity, the best course is to get to either an emergency room if there is significant pain or deformity; or an urgent care center if it seems less serious. More serious injuries should go directly to the emergency room as urgent care centers are more for minor injuries and non-displaced fractures. If the injury appears to be very minor and not really interfering with the child’s daily activities or causing much pain, then one could wait a day or two and see if it improves.
Q. Do children heal sooner than adults? How long does it take for a child to get back to play after an injury?
A. Children usually heal more quickly than adults but still can have fractures that are slow to heal. It usually takes any where from a few weeks to a few months to get back after most injuries depending on the injury and the severity.
Q. How can parents better protect their children from orthopedic injuries?
A. By making sure they are playing on safe equipment and safe surfaces, both for at home play and for sports participation. Unfortunately, some activities kids enjoy the most such as trampolines and monkey bars, are also some of the most dangerous activities. Also, parents should make sure kids are ready physiologically for what they are doing; including being coordinated and strong enough for the activity. We see a lot of sports overuse problems because children are doing too much at too early of an age, or doing things that should be postponed until they are older, such as throwing curve balls. There is good evidence to suggest children should not play a single sport year round and should engage in more free play rather than organized sports when they are young.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kayes, please call 317.802.2491 or learn more about pediatric orthopedic care at OrthoIndy.