Growth plates are areas of cartilage or tissue at the ends of long bones in children. They determine the length and shape of the mature bone.
At the growth plate, additional cartilage cells are added and turned into bone through a process called ossification. When the cartilage and growth plate ossifies, the growth plate closes and bone growth stops.
Since growth plates are made of cartilage, they are weaker than other areas of a growing skeleton. This makes them more vulnerable to injuries, including fractures.
Pediatric orthopaedic specialists at Children's know how to properly diagnose and treat injuries to growth plates to minimize growth disturbances associated with a fracture. If an injury to a growth plate is not treated the right way, it could result in long-term complications like deformity or arthritis.