A bone fracture, also called a broken bone, is a condition in which there is a disruption in the continuity or structure of the bone. These interruptions can be as simple as a hairline or stress fracture, leading only to tiny cracks disturbing the framework of the bone, or as complicated as a complete break, in which the bone is fragmented into two or more pieces. A complete rupture of the bone’s continuity can also result in a condition called an open fracture where the injured bone also disrupts the integrity of the skin. A metaphyseal fracture is a break in the bone at the metaphysis.
The metaphysis is a part of each long bone located between the diaphysis, or shaft, and the epiphysis, or end, of the bone, where growing or lengthening occurs. It is here where the epiphyseal plate, also referred to as the growth plate, is located. Bone continues to develop as the body matures until between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. When development is complete, the metaphysis hardens or ossifies into bone. Experiencing a metaphyseal fracture can interrupt bone growth and development.
Commonly, these fractures occur in the arms or legs of children under the age of two. They are frequently a result of a jerking or swinging motion, because a child’s bones are less stable or hard than those of adults. This type of break may also occur due to improper handling of an infant or by a self-inflicted accident in which the young child tests the limb’s usage too forcefully. Due to the fact that a metaphyseal fracture does not always present with the normal swelling and pain issues of a break in another area of the bone, detecting this condition may be difficult.
Though a metaphyseal fracture occurs in the metaphysis, there are different types of breaks that can occur. A bucket handle metaphyseal fracture for example, can occur where the long bones connect to another part of the body, such as the ankles or arm pits. A corner fracture, on the other hand is a break in the long bone in the area of the metaphysis and growth plate. Stress fractures or chip fractures may also occur in this area.
Unlike other breaks a metaphyseal fracture may have the ability to heal on its own as the body is continually developing and creating more bone cells. With severe fractures of this area, however, resting of the involved limb may be necessary. In more serious cases, this type of fracture may throw off the alignment of the bone itself or of the way it connects to another body part. In these instances, casting or other treatment methods may be necessary to correct the bone deviations that may result in deformities.