Pediatric Orthopaedic Trauma Conditions We Treat

The bodies of kids, preteens, and teens are still growing. When an injury happens to their bones, muscles, or joints, they need expert care.

The experts of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Trauma program at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh treat these injuries.

We see and treat sprains and broken bones in children and young adults up to the age of 26 in the:

  • Upper body and limbs: Shoulder blade, collarbone, upper arm, forearm, wrist, hand, and finger.
  • Lower extremity: Pelvis, hip, thigh, knee, lower leg , ankle, foot, and toe.

We do not see:

Broken Bones or Trauma to the Hip and Pelvis

Trauma to the hip and pelvis includes:

  • Fractures to the hip socket (called acetabular trauma) from traumatic hip dislocations or other injuries.
  • Pelvic fractures (broken pelvis).

A broken pelvis is a serious and complex injury. It needs both specialized tools and experts trained in treating it.

Most hospitals require an extra year of training before they will let doctors treat pelvic fractures. We're the only center in southwest Pennsylvania that has these capabilities.

We also work closely with UPMC Children's Hospital's Adolescent and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program.

Fractures that Haven't Healed Correctly

Sometimes broken bones do not heal properly, with or without surgery.

  • When they don't heal after a certain amount of time (usually six months), it's called a nonunion.
  • A malunion is when broken bones heal incorrectly. Often the limb doesn't look right or work properly.
  • People can also get a bone infection or osteomyelitis after surgery, which requires specialized treatment.

These conditions are all uncommon. But when they happen, you need a doctor with special training in revision surgery.

We have one of the few programs in the state where families can find this kind of care.

Spinal Trauma

Injuries to the spine (backbone) can be complex. Our surgeons work closely with children's neurosurgeons to treat spinal cord and vertebrae trauma.

We see children with:

  • Sprains. Damage to the ligaments in the spine.
  • Spine bruises. A severe bruise caused by trauma.
  • Dislocations. A type of fracture that causes vertebrae to be out of line with each other.
  • Both minor and severe spine fractures. These include minor compression fractures and severe spinal cord trauma.

Our Spine Center also treats children with scoliosis and kyphosis — conditions that affect the curvature of the spine.

Fractures in Children with Bone Disorders

Certain bone and cartilage disorders can weaken a child's bones and cause them to break more easily. An example of these conditions is osteogenesis imperfecta or brittle bone disease.

Benign bone cysts can also weaken bones if they grow large enough.

Treatment for these conditions requires doctors experienced with them. Our experts can provide this care.

Other Specialized Orthopaedic Trauma and Injuries We Treat

Our team treats a range of traumatic injuries including, but not limited to:

  • Capitellum.
  • Femoral neck and intertrochanteric fractures.
  • Lateral condyle.
  • Lisfranc fracture-dislocations.
  • Medial epicondyle.
  • Monteggia fracture-dislocations.
  • Olecranon.
  • Radial head and neck.
  • Supracondylar fractures in the upper arm and thigh.
  • Pilon fractures in the lower part of the shinbone.
  • Plateau fractures in the upper part of the shinbone.

See a UPMC Children's Orthopaedic Trauma Specialist

Not sure whether to head to the UPMC Children's Emergency Department, Orthopaedic Urgent Care, or Express Care?

For help deciding which is the best option for your child or to make an appointment, call 412-692-5530. You can also book your child's orthopaedic trauma appointment online.