So your child 'rolled' their ankle? Twisted her foot when jumping off the monkey bars? Took a fall during soccer and the ankle was 'sprained'?  Highly unlikely!

Yes, it's true, children rarely sprain their ankle.  When a child's ankle is subject to the same twisting motion as an adults, the growth plate of the fibula is typically the first to 'give out'.  In children the weakest point of the ankle is the growth plates, while in adults it is a series of ligaments that run on the outside of the ankle.  So what is at risk...the WEAKEST link! 

I know, as a parent myself, the injuries are too numerous to count and many times I brush them aside.  If you're not bleeding or's all good!  But here are some good rules to follow for when to seek medical attention:

  • They are unable to walk on the foot
  • They are limping for more than a day
  • There is swelling or bruising
  • They can't (or have trouble) moving the ankle

If your child has any of the above it's good to get an x-ray and professional opinion.  I often play Dr. Mom too, BUT growth plates are nothing to mess around with.  This is a case where it really is better to err on the over protective side.  If  a growth plate is damaged and not treated properly, it can cause an abnormality of growth in the injured bone.  


Dr. Misty McNeill
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D.P.M. - Founder of Prairie Path Foot and Ankle Clinic
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