Toddler's fracture

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Toddler's fracture
Other namesChildhood accidental spiral tibial (CAST) fractures
A toddler's fracture
Specialty Orthopedic

Toddler's fractures are bone fractures of the distal (lower) part of the shin bone (tibia) in toddlers (aged 9 months-3 years) and other young children (less than 8 years). [1] The fracture is found in the distal two thirds of the tibia in 95% of cases, [1] is undisplaced and has a spiral pattern. It occurs after low-energy trauma, sometimes with a rotational component.



The proposed mechanism involves shear stress and lack of displacement due to the periosteum that is relatively strong compared to the elastic bone in young children. [2]


Typical symptoms include pain, refusing to walk or bear weight and limping -bruising and deformity are absent. On clinical examination, there can be warmth and swelling over the fracture area, as well as pain on bending the foot upwards (dorsiflexion). The initial radiographical images may be inconspicuous (a faint oblique line) and often even completely normal. [3] After 1–2 weeks however, callus formation develops. The condition can be mistaken for osteomyelitis, transient synovitis or even child abuse. Contrary to CAST fractures, non-accidental injury typically affect the upper two-thirds or midshaft of the tibia.[ citation needed ]

Other possible fractures in this area, occurring in the cuboid, calcaneus, and fibula, can be associated or can be mistaken for a toddler's fracture. [4] In some cases, an internal oblique radiography and radionuclide imaging can add information to anterior-posterior and lateral views. [5] [6] However, since treatment can also be initiated in the absence of abnormalities, this appears to have little value in most cases. It could be useful in special cases such as children with fever, those without a clear trauma or those in which the diagnosis remains unclear. [3] [7] Recently, ultrasound has been suggested as a helpful diagnostic tool. [8]


Treatment consist of a long leg orthopedic cast for several weeks. [3]


The condition was initially recognised by Dunbar and co-workers in 1964. [9] A new terminology has been proposed, which defines toddler's fracture as a subset of childhood accidental spiral tibial (CAST) fractures. [1]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tibia</span> Leg bone in vertebrates

The tibia, also known as the shinbone or shankbone, is the larger, stronger, and anterior (frontal) of the two bones in the leg below the knee in vertebrates ; it connects the knee with the ankle. The tibia is found on the medial side of the leg next to the fibula and closer to the median plane. The tibia is connected to the fibula by the interosseous membrane of leg, forming a type of fibrous joint called a syndesmosis with very little movement. The tibia is named for the flute tibia. It is the second largest bone in the human body, after the femur. The leg bones are the strongest long bones as they support the rest of the body.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fibula</span> Leg bone in vertebrates

The fibula or calf bone is a leg bone on the lateral side of the tibia, to which it is connected above and below. It is the smaller of the two bones and, in proportion to its length, the most slender of all the long bones. Its upper extremity is small, placed toward the back of the head of the tibia, below the knee joint and excluded from the formation of this joint. Its lower extremity inclines a little forward, so as to be on a plane anterior to that of the upper end; it projects below the tibia and forms the lateral part of the ankle joint.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ankle</span> Region where the foot and the leg meet

The ankle, or the talocrural region, or the jumping bone (informal) is the area where the foot and the leg meet. The ankle includes three joints: the ankle joint proper or talocrural joint, the subtalar joint, and the inferior tibiofibular joint. The movements produced at this joint are dorsiflexion and plantarflexion of the foot. In common usage, the term ankle refers exclusively to the ankle region. In medical terminology, "ankle" can refer broadly to the region or specifically to the talocrural joint.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bone fracture</span> Physical damage to the continuity of a bone

A bone fracture is a medical condition in which there is a partial or complete break in the continuity of any bone in the body. In more severe cases, the bone may be broken into several fragments, known as a comminuted fracture. A bone fracture may be the result of high force impact or stress, or a minimal trauma injury as a result of certain medical conditions that weaken the bones, such as osteoporosis, osteopenia, bone cancer, or osteogenesis imperfecta, where the fracture is then properly termed a pathologic fracture.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maisonneuve fracture</span> Medical condition

The Maisonneuve fracture is a spiral fracture of the proximal third of the fibula associated with a tear of the distal tibiofibular syndesmosis and the interosseous membrane. There is an associated fracture of the medial malleolus or rupture of the deep deltoid ligament of the ankle. This type of injury can be difficult to detect.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Segond fracture</span> Avulsion fracture of the lateral tibial condyle of the knee

The Segond fracture is a type of avulsion fracture from the lateral tibial plateau of the knee, immediately below the articular surface of the tibia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shin splints</span> Medical condition

A shin splint, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, is pain along the inside edge of the shinbone (tibia) due to inflammation of tissue in the area. Generally this is between the middle of the lower leg and the ankle. The pain may be dull or sharp, and is generally brought on by high-impact exercise that overloads the tibia. It generally resolves during periods of rest. Complications may include stress fractures.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Osgood–Schlatter disease</span> Inflammation of the patellar ligament

Osgood–Schlatter disease (OSD) is inflammation of the patellar ligament at the tibial tuberosity (apophysitis). It is characterized by a painful bump just below the knee that is worse with activity and better with rest. Episodes of pain typically last a few weeks to months. One or both knees may be affected and flares may recur.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Talus bone</span> One of the foot bones that forms the tarsus

The talus, talus bone, astragalus, or ankle bone is one of the group of foot bones known as the tarsus. The tarsus forms the lower part of the ankle joint. It transmits the entire weight of the body from the lower legs to the foot.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ankle fracture</span> Medical condition

An ankle fracture is a break of one or more of the bones that make up the ankle joint. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, bruising, and an inability to walk on the injured leg. Complications may include an associated high ankle sprain, compartment syndrome, stiffness, malunion, and post-traumatic arthritis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Epiphyseal plate</span> Cartilage plate in the neck of a long bone

The epiphyseal plate is a hyaline cartilage plate in the metaphysis at each end of a long bone. It is the part of a long bone where new bone growth takes place; that is, the whole bone is alive, with maintenance remodeling throughout its existing bone tissue, but the growth plate is the place where the long bone grows longer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Transient synovitis</span> Medical condition

Transient synovitis of hip is a self-limiting condition in which there is an inflammation of the inner lining of the capsule of the hip joint. The term irritable hip refers to the syndrome of acute hip pain, joint stiffness, limp or non-weightbearing, indicative of an underlying condition such as transient synovitis or orthopedic infections. In everyday clinical practice however, irritable hip is commonly used as a synonym for transient synovitis. It should not be confused with sciatica, a condition describing hip and lower back pain much more common to adults than transient synovitis but with similar signs and symptoms.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blount's disease</span> Medical condition

Blount's disease is a growth disorder of the tibia which causes the lower leg to angle inward, resembling a bowleg. It is also known as "tibia vara".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malleolus</span> Ankle bone protrusion

A malleolus is the bony prominence on each side of the human ankle.

A high ankle sprain, also known as a syndesmotic ankle sprain (SAS), is a sprain of the syndesmotic ligaments that connect the tibia and fibula in the lower leg, thereby creating a mortise and tenon joint for the ankle. High ankle sprains are described as high because they are located above the ankle. They comprise approximately 15% of all ankle sprains. Unlike the common lateral ankle sprains, when ligaments around the ankle are injured through an inward twisting, high ankle sprains are caused when the lower leg and foot externally rotates.

The Bosworth fracture is a rare fracture of the distal fibula with an associated fixed posterior dislocation of the proximal fibular fragment which becomes trapped behind the posterior tibial tubercle. The injury is caused by severe external rotation of the ankle. The ankle remains externally rotated after the injury, making interpretation of X-rays difficult which can lead to misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment. The injury is most commonly treated by open reduction internal fixation as closed reduction is made difficult by the entrapment of the fibula behind the tibia.

A bumper fracture is a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau caused by the bumper of a car coming into contact with the outer side of the knee when a person is standing. Specifically, it is caused by a forced valgus applied to the knee. This causes the lateral part of the distal femur and the lateral tibial plateau to come into contact, compressing the tibial plateau and causing the tibia to fracture. The name of the injury is because it was described as being caused by the impact of a car bumper on the lateral side of the knee while the foot is planted on the ground, although this mechanism is only seen in about 25% of tibial plateau fractures.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Crus fracture</span>

A crus fracture is a fracture of the lower legs bones meaning either or both of the tibia and fibula.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tibial plateau fracture</span> Medical condition

A tibial plateau fracture is a break of the upper part of the tibia (shinbone) that involves the knee joint. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and a decreased ability to move the knee. People are generally unable to walk. Complication may include injury to the artery or nerve, arthritis, and compartment syndrome.

An occult fracture is a fracture that is not readily visible, generally in regard to projectional radiography ("X-ray"). Radiographically, occult and subtle fractures are a diagnostic challenge. They may be divided into 1) high energy trauma fracture, 2) fatigue fracture from cyclical and sustained mechanical stress, and 3) insufficiency fracture occurring in weakened bone. Independently of the cause, the initial radiographic examination can be negative either because the findings seem normal or are too subtle. Advanced imaging tools such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and scintigraphy are highly valuable in the early detection of these fractures.


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