Children and Broken Bones

Some kids are daredevils, defying gravity in any number of ways. Others stick close to the ground. A broken bone can happen to any of them, and for some, a cast is a childhood right of passage. Knowing that doesn’t make it any less scary when it’s your child with a broken bone.

Brad Culotta, MD, pediatric orthopaedic, scoliosis surgeon, & pediatric and adolescent sports medicine physician at the Baton Rouge Orthopaedic Clinic, is skilled at treating patients and soothing families. “In our practice of managing the injured child, we know how to examine and treat kids in a way that helps them be relaxed and cooperative,” he says. 

“The presence of the growth plate drives how we think about treating orthopedic problems in children,” Dr. Culotta says. “All of our treatments are geared toward the protection and preservation of normal growth.”

When faced with a possible broken bone, you may want to head to urgent care first. “Common fractures such as those of the hand, wrist, forearm, foot, ankle, and leg can easily be evaluated and initially managed appropriately in the urgent care setting,” Dr. Culotta says. However, he advises that an obvious deformity to the bone or dislocation of a large joint are best managed in an emergency room, which has the ability to do sedation needed to treat those types of injuries. Most breaks take between six and eight weeks to heal, and some are stable enough to require only a brace rather than a cast. 

A broken arm or leg doesn’t mean the end of summer fun. “One of the best advances in the way we manage kids’ fractures has been the waterproof cast,” Dr. Culotta says. “We do everything we can to get the kids back to activities as soon as possible and back to having fun. That’s what makes my job most rewarding.”

On October 5, the freestanding Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital will open. “Our goal is to have 24/7, 365 pediatric orthopedic care available,” Dr. Culotta says. This means if your child is injured and you seek care at the Children’s Hospital, you will see a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, doctors who spends their entire career taking care of kids’ injuries. “This is truly comforting to parents and families.” 

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