Children are different from adults in so many different ways than we can imagine. Right from their energy levels, their sleeping habits, their brain development, to their bones, and so much more. You need to remember that your child is not a young adult and their bones differ from yours in significant ways.
Let us help you understand how your child’s bones are different and why you must understand the difference.
Children’s bones heal quicker
While a broken bone in an adult might take months to heal, for a kid, the healing happens in weeks or days, depending upon the grade of injury. It is because bones in children are richer in oxygen than those of adults that make healing after an injury faster.
Bones in kids are more flexible and thicker
Even though bones in adults are denser than that of children, their bones are much more porous than that of children and comparatively more brittle. Children’s bones are stronger, thicker, and much more flexible. It is why a fall in an adult that caused a broken bone might not cause the same injury in a child.
Infants have many more bones than adults
Humans are born with 300 bones, while a fully developed adult most commonly has 206 bones. It is because babies are born with more flexible cartilages than bones. As they grow, some of these cartilages fuse together to form bones, and others harden. The flexible cartilages in babies help them stay curled up in the mother’s womb and also reduces the chances of them breaking their bones in case they happen to fall.
Bones in children bend more often than they break
Children’s bones are far more elastic than adult bones, which is why they are more likely to bend than break. If a child suffers an injury, they will likely have a deformed bone rather than a broken one. These are often called Greenstick fractures. It may be more difficult to treat a deformation than a fracture but even then, the rate of healing is much faster than that in adults.
Children’s bones keep growing until their teens or 20s
Bones in children are continuously growing, remodeling, or fusing to become solid bones. This growth can continue till their late teens or early 20s. When injuries happen, bones are still supercharged, and the repair takes place really quickly. However, if an injury occurs at the growth end of the bone called physique, that part of the bone may stop growing and cause a permanent deformity like it may be shorter in length than the other limb without the injury.
Ligaments in children are stronger than their bones
The soft tissue structures like the ligaments and tendons in children are stronger than their bones. Due to this, a fall might result in a bone injury, but strains and sprains or torn ligaments are very rare.
Children need to perform weight-bearing activities to develop strong bones
Since children are much more active than adults due to their high energy levels, along with activities like cycling, swimming, running, children also need to perform weight-bearing activities to strengthen their bones. While cardiovascular activities help them maintain a healthy weight and good cardio-respiratory health, weight-bearing activities ensure they have a strong skeletal system to support their entire body.
So, even though children look smaller than adults, they are actually much stronger and more resilient than adults. When kids suffer from injuries, the cells get redirected towards the injured part and supercharge the healing process. It is why doctors often do not recommend casts or slings for kids as they might not only be uncomfortable but might also not be required at all. It is very unusual to see surgical procedures recommended for fractures in children because pediatric bones heal faster and differently than adults.
If your child has recently suffered a fracture and you are worried about their recovery, be rest assured that with proper rest and care, they will be up and about in a couple of weeks. Moreover, you might notice their recovery even before weeks and see their energy back just in few days.