Pediatric hand fractures: A review

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ObjectiveTo identify the incidence, causes, and details of hand fractures in children.DesignA retrospective chart review.MethodsRecords of children under 16 years of age who had sustained a hand fracture within the last 5 years were collected from the patient population of British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital. A total of 242 hand fractures in 232 patients were documented. These patients were reviewed for age at time of injury, gender, location of the incident, mechanism of injury, number of radiographs taken, and fracture specifics. Radiographs with obscure details or incomplete folders were excluded.ResultsThe patients consisted of 57 (24.6%) females and 175 (75.4%) males, with a mean age of 11.1 ± 3.3 years. Incidence was low in early childhood but rose sharply after age 9 and peaked at 12 years of age. Sporting activities were the most common cause in both sexes. The fifth metacarpal was the most frequently involved bone (21.1% of total). Nonepiphyseal fractures accounted for 60.2% of the fractures, and the remaining 39.8% were epiphyseal fractures, predominantly Salter-Harris type II (90.4%). Fractures with comminution, severe displacement, intraarticular involvement, and condylar involvement were seen in 12.4%, 12.4%, 20.5%, and 15.1%, respectively. An average of 4.2 radiographs were taken per patient.ConclusionAlmost all fractures healed in 2 to 3 weeks with excellent functional outcome. Knowledge of epidemiology and etiology of hand fractures can serve as an essential first step in devising strategies to reduce the incidence of these hand injuries. It is hoped that studies such as the present study may serve as a first step in planning measures to reduce the occurrence of hand fractures.

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