Growth Plate

Bone Growth Location in Youths

What is a Growth Plate?

The growth plate is the growing cartilage close to the end of the long bone. This growth plate determines the future of the mature bone. When you reach your full height your growth plate turns into solid bone. The growth plates close at some point during the teenage years. The growth plates are the weakest areas of the growing skeleton. Injuries to the growth plate are called fractures.

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Body System Affected

  • Skeletal System
  • Growth plate fractures prevents the bone from growing
  • If the growth plate grows less than it would have normally, the bone would be shorter than the opposite, uninjured limb
  • The knee has a high risk of injuries to the nerve and blood vessels, which may cause crooked growth
  • When growth is complete, sometime during adolescence, the growth plates close and are replaced by solid bone

Who Does this Condition Affect?

  • Occurs most often in growing children and teenagers
  • Trauma that would cause a sprain in an adult might cause a growth plate fracture in a child
  • Growth plate fractures occur twice as often in boys as in girls, because girls’ bodies mature at an earlier age than boys. As a result, their bones finish growing sooner, and their growth plates are replaced by stronger, solid bone.
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Signs and Symptoms

  • The doctor will x-ray to determine if there is a fracture to find out where and what type of fracture it is
  • Sometimes the doctor will x-ray the opposite limb
  • By comparing x-rays of the injured limb to those of the non-injured limb, doctors can look for differences that show an injury.

  • Growth plates that have not yet hardened into solid bone will not show up on x-rays
  • Growth plates show up as gaps between the shaft of a long bone and the end of the bone
  • Other tests that are used to diagnose a growth plate injury include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and ultrasound. These tests allow doctors to see the growth plate and areas of other soft tissue. Also, they are useful for detecting the presence of an injury and determining the type and extent of the injury.


  • Depending on the type of injury, treatment should be started as soon as possible after injury occurs
  • The injured limb is often put in a cast or splint
  • If the fractured growth plate is displaced, the ends of the injured bones no longer meet as they should. The doctor will now have to put his or her bone joints back in their correct positions, either by manipulation or through surgery.
  • Sometimes the doctor holds the growth plate in place with screws or wire so it can heal without moving.
  • The bone will be set in place (immobilized) and this is usually done with a cast that encloses the injured growth plate and the joints on both sides of it.
  • The doctor will have you put a cast on you so it does not get damaged more.
  • The need for manipulation or surgery will depend on the location and amount of injury, it also depends on nerves and blood vessels, and the child’s age.


Growth plate injuries are very common. I researched this project because I had a fractured growth plate.