January 21, 2009,
A.S. asks from West Jordan, UT on January 20, 2009
My Little Girl Got a Hairline Fracture in Her Tibia
A few days ago my daughter broke her tibia (the shin bone). It is just a hairline (or stress) fracture. I was wondering if any other moms have had this happen to a child, if you ended up needing to use a boot or get a cast for your child, how long it took to heal, and if there was any physical therapy afterwards. I have read that rest is mostly all that is needed for these types of fractures to heal. I want to hear other mom's stories, and how you dealt with a child who isn't supposed to walk until it heals. I know this will be hard on her to be immobile for so long. Thank you so much!
R.F. answers from Dallas on January 20, 2009
My daughter had a double stress fracture on her left leg, tibia and fiblia. However, she was 17 years old and it was from ballet (she danced in a company for years). She just rested it during Chrismas holiday (no school and ballet was on hiatus); but, she definitely walked on it. It was not casted or booted and it healed just fine without any P/T. She went back to normal activities within a few weeks.
H.B. answers from Dallas on January 20, 2009
My 16 month old fractured her tibia the week before Christmas. I took her to the Dr. immediately, it was x-rayed and found to be a hairline fracture. The pedi sent us to an orthopedic surgeon where they put a cast on it. My daughter was unable to walk or even stand up with the fracture.
After having the cast for about 5 days, she figured out that she could walk with it on; previously her dr. had told us she would not be able to walk in it. I called them just to make sure it was ok for her to walk around with cast on and they said it would be fine. She wore it for 2 weeks, had x-rays again, the fracture was barely there but since she wasn't healed, they left the cast on. Two weeks later (last week), it was x-rayed again, and they took the cast off. She is walking with a limp now but they said she should be back to normal in a few weeks.
Neither of the dr.s we saw brought up the idea that it was even a remote possibility to go without the cast. The cast was from the middle of her foot up to the middle of her thigh. I think that is the standard for toddler fractures, a cast above the knee, flexed at a 10 degree angle.
The good thing about the cast was that she was able to walk around and it didn't slow her down a bit.
I'm sorry that your little one is going through this and I hope she heals quickly.
S.W. answers from Dallas on January 20, 2009
My now 4-year old also fractured her tibia when she was 2½. It took me 2 weeks and several doctors, emergency rooms, etc for them to finally find the problem. When we finally got to the pediatric orthopedic he found the fracture. He gave me the option of either cast it or not. After thinking long and hard we decided to go with a bright pink full-leg cast. I felt awful, but he said it would heal quicker and I felt she would be in less pain. We had already had 2 weeks of trying to rest it and I was afraid it wouldn't heal correctly. She was already walking sort of wierd and she had been through so much. She did great with the cast, she had it for 8 weeks. She had a walking shoe and was able to walk on it the same day we got home. She was unsure of it at first but learned quickly how to work around it, kids are sooo resilent! It was in the middle of the summer and very hot and bath time was interesting, but she never complained and went back to daycare and did everything she normally did. She never had PT and she is doing fine today. It was a little uncomfortable and strange the first day or so without the cast and of course weak. Considering the situation, the cast was a good experience, I'm glad we did it. We have really cute pictures and of course she talks about it when she sees them, but never anything negative towards it.
Good luck. I know first hand what a hard time and decision it is for you. It's not near as hard on them as it is for the mommies!!
Y.I. answers from Dallas on January 20, 2009
I know you were asking about the tibia but i watch a boy that broke his femur at 3yrs. old in a bounce house. (In his parents care not mine.) He had to be in a body cast and was in that for 6 weeks. He is very hyper and managed to deal with it because he had no choice.
After he got it off he would not walk he would crawl. then when he finally started walking he walked with a limp. After a few months no sign at all that anything ever happened to him. It's funny what they can handle.
We are the ones that get shook up.
A.G. answers from Dallas on January 21, 2009
My oldest son (now 11) fractured his tibia when he was 3. The doctor said that if my son could keep from running or jumping on it for four to six weeks, then we wouldn't have to cast it (he was allowed to walk on it). Fortunately he is a very calm child that follows directions well, and did so even at 3, so we opted not to cast. He said that if he ran or jumped at all we would need to cast it. He healed well and has had no problems since then. He never had physical therapy. I hope your daughter heals quickly.