Specialized Pediatric Orthopaedics

A child’s broken bone requires more than a cast.


Most parents select a doctor based on word of mouth from friends and family, social media, or even their insurance company. A regular pediatrician or family doctor is important for well and sick visits, but during a medical emergency, many parents are forced to make a quick decision about their child’s care.

Although many childhood accidents can be treated in an urgent care center or emergency room, broken bones, a common children’s emergency, aren’t one of them. Many adults don’t know of an orthopaedic specialist, let alone a pediatric orthopaedist.

Pediatric orthopaedic advantages

Recently, 4-year old Ixchel was playing in the family’s living room with her brothers and sisters when a glass coffee table fell on her foot. Fearing the worst, her parents immediately rushed her to the local emergency room where they learned she had broken three bones in her foot. After being stabilized in a soft-cast, the emergency room doctor recommended seeing a pediatric orthopaedic specialist.

Broken bones are never planned, so finding a facility with a streamlined process can make it easy for a family to navigate the complexities of caring for a child’s broken bone. The emergency room referred the family to Philadelphia’s Shriners Hospitals for Children to be evaluated at the fracture clinic as a walk-in patient the next day.

Emily, Ixchel’s mother, immediately noticed a difference there. “Everyone seemed to be truly concerned for my daughter, and ensured we had everything we needed,” she said. Ixchel was seen right away by lead orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Scott Kozin, and received a long cast, which she had to wear for four weeks.

A child's bones need specialized care

Because young bones are more flexible and have a thicker covering, a broken bone in a child is different from one in an adult. Additionally, a child’s bones are still growing, so most fractures call for a visit to a pediatric orthopaedic specialist.

Luckily, Ixchel was able to go home and do most of her physical therapy on her own, equipped with a loaner wheelchair and later a walker. Many pediatric facilities include total fracture care, which may include reduction, surgery, casting, post fracture follow-up and physical or occupational therapy. “I’ve been to several other hospitals with my other four children for so many different reasons, but none have been as pleasant and nice to me and my family,” Emily said.

When the hospital offers a full range of inpatient and outpatient, and rehabilitation services for orthopaedic and spine conditions under one roof, it’s a convenient solution for busy families. Like other children, Ixchel was super-excited to get her cast taken off a few weeks later. After having her all needs met under one roof, she was quickly back to playing with her brothers and sisters.

Learn More

The Philadelphia Shriners Hospital is world renowned for specialty care of bone, joint and nerve problems. Care for children with fractures aged 18 years and younger is available without an appointment and regardless of the families’ ability to pay, from Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, 7:30am to 12noon. Bring a copy of your child’s X-rays and a referral form from the pediatrician, urgent center, or emergency room where your child was initially seen.

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