May, 2013

What is a Growth Plate Injury ?

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

When it is suspected that a child has broken a bone it is important to determine whether or not the growth plate has been injured.  But what is a growth plate?  And what does it mean if the growth plate is injured?

Growth plates are special areas along the bone that allow for growth. These areas along the bone are actually cartilage that generates new cells which, in time, form bone as children grow. These areas are fragile and are easily injured. When a growth plate is injured continued growth at that site may become impaired which is the reason it is important to follow any injury to a growth plate carefully.

Growth plates are cartilage and they are seen as black lines on an x-ray. It is often not possible to see growth plate injuries on an x-ray unless the injury  also involves bone.

If a child has an injury and it is suspected that there may be a break or a sprain, it is important to have an initial x-ray and examination to determine whether or not stabilization of the injured area is appropriate.  If the area is very painful and there is swelling, it is often difficult to determine at the time of injury whether the growth plate has been affected.  As a result, when a child has pain around a growth plate after a traumatic injury it is standard practice to assume there is a growth plate injury and treat it as such.

At Suncoast Urgent Care it is our practice to schedule a follow up examination in 7-10 days after the initial visit. During this time much of the pain and swelling from the injury (e.g.: ankle sprain) subsides. When the patient returns for a repeat examination it is often much easier for the examining physician to determine whether the pain is coming from the bone, growth plate or ligament.

Allowing time for recovery allows us the opportunity for a clearer, and thus more accurate exam. If appropriate, a follow-up x-ray may be indicated to help determine which type of injury has occurred.


Is it a Spider Bite ?

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

We have many patients who ask this very question. We often see patients who seek an evaluation due to a skin lesion that is red, swollen and often very painful. Many times the centers of these lesions look like there is a puncture wound and there is sometimes a scab and/or pus.

Most often, this is not a spider bite.  But we are still glad the patient has sought an evaluation, because it is usually a skin infection that needs treatment.

The good news is that most insects and spiders in the Tampa Bay area are neither poisonous nor dangerous to us. Most often these swollen and painful lesions are infections caused by normal bacteria that lives on our skin and has entered the body due to a scratch, wound, or insect bite.

It is not a surprise that it appears the bite is the culprit of the infection. Most often, however, the bite merely provided an opening for the bacteria to get into the skin and create an infection.

Typically, these infections need antibiotics and many need additional treatment,  which may include draining.  Please be careful not to squeeze these infections or attempt to drain them on your own. Squeezing the lesions can cause them to burst open under the skin which may allow the pus to spread further within the body.

If you are experiencing a painful lesion Suncoast Urgent Care is here to evaluate and treat it on site.


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