The body’s musculoskeletal system serves an important purpose in supporting the body and enabling movement. A common misconception is that bones are hard and lifeless. In actuality, bone is a complex mass of living tissues and minerals that work together to keep it functional. As such, diet and physical activity are important factors in bone health and development.
Living tissues inside the bone can heal and repair injuries. The rate of bone repair varies per individual and is highly dependent on the person’s age, general health condition, medical treatment, and remedial efforts.
Growing Bone vs. Mature Bone
A child’s musculoskeletal system differs significantly from that of an adult. The bones of a child or adolescent grow continuously both in length and width. In addition, during the growth stage, a child’s tendons and ligaments are stronger than his bones. Furthermore, their bones are softer and more flexible than an adult's, making them more resistant to fracture.
With severe trauma, the growth plate at the ends of the bones in a child will give way before the tendon or ligament suffers damage. In the case of fractures affecting the growth plates, it is important to monitor healing of the growth plate area, since this area is what dictates bone growth. In general, however, a child’s bones heal faster than that of adults.
Bones continue to grow in size and density until around age 30. By that time, bones will have stopped increasing in size but will continue to increase in density.
Injuries and Risks to Children’s Musculoskeletal Systems
Bone injuries in children may be either acute or chronic. Acute injuries result from sudden impact, such as those occurring during sports activities. Chronic injuries on the other hand develop gradually over a prolonged period of time and usually result from recurring stresses applied to the bone. The stresses cause cessation of bone growth, resulting in limb and joint deformities that may spell permanent disability.
Adolescents are most at risk because they experience periodic growth spurts, during which bones and muscles experience imbalances in strength and flexibility, as well as changes in bio-mechanical properties. Furthermore, many adolescents also are involved in sports or other rigorous physical activities, which puts strains on bones and increases risks of injury.
Role of Chiropractic Care in Children’s Bone Injuries
Bone-related injuries may lead to long-term deformities in limbs and joints if not properly treated. Structural imbalances can occur, and muscles can either tighten or weaken. Consequently, chiropractic care may be needed during the healing process to prevent the onset of deformity.
As chiropractors we are specially trained to understand the structure and behavior of the musculoskeletal system in its normal and injured states. we can routinely check the child’s injury to detect any abnormal development. When indicated, we can also perform adjustments for the spine and limbs to ensure proper bone regrowth and recovery. In addition, we are happy to teach children essential exercise routines to help rehabilitate and strengthen muscles and bones, as well as give advice on proper posture and movement.
Your Health . . . It’s Worth It!