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Toddler's Fracture

What is a toddler’s fracture?


  • An injury to the big bone below the knee, sometimes called the shin bone (tibia).
  • The bone is broken, but it is held tightly together by the outer covering of the bone (periosteum).
  • This is a stable injury, like a sprain.
  • This happens in children ages 1-4 years old.

How do you know it’s a toddler’s fracture?

  • The child injured themselves from a fall, tripping, twisting or going down a slide.
  • When the leg is pushed on over the shin bone it causes pain.
  • Sometimes the child will limp or won’t want to walk.
  • X-rays are taken which show a broken bone near the ankle (see pictures below).
Two X-rays showing different views of a broken ankle.
  • If the X-ray doesn’t show a broken bone, it might still be broken. This is called a “suspected toddler’s fracture.”

How do you care for your child with a toddler’s fracture?

  • To make an appointment in the Orthopedic Surgery Clinic please call (816) 234-3075.
  • Your child should be evaluated in the Orthopedic Surgery Clinic within 1 week of their injury.
    • They do not need an X-ray at that visit.
  • You will protect your child’s leg by having them wear a special boot, called a “CAM” boot or a walking boot.
    • CAM = controlled ankle motion.
Photo of three CAM boots all lined in a different color: blue, yellow and orange.
  • The boot must be removed to look at the skin at least 1 time per day.
    • Check the skin every day at bedtime or bath time.
    • Look for redness, blisters, bruising or openings of the skin.
    • If you see any of these on your child’s skin:
      • Please call the Orthopedic Surgery Clinic at (816) 234-3075 or send a picture through the Patient Portal.
      • This can be caused by the boot being too loose or too tight.
      • Stop wearing the boot until you hear from your care team.
      • A visit to the clinic will be needed to check how the boot is fitting and look at the skin.
  • Your child does not have to sleep in the boot.

How do I know the boot is on right?

  1. Place the heel firmly down the back of the CAM boot.
  2. Place padding over the foot and shin.
  3. Ensure the toes are within the firm sole of the boot.
  4. Fasten the Velcro® straps so the boot doesn’t move around on the foot.
Three photos showing adult hands putting a CAM boot on a child's leg. The photos are numbered 1, 2 and 3-4.

How long does it take for the broken bone to heal?


  • After your child has started to walk in the boot, they can start to wear it less.
  • This usually happens between 2-4 weeks after the injury.
  • Your child will have a second appointment in the Orthopedic Surgery Clinic 4 weeks after the injury.
    • Their leg will be examined.
    • They will have new X-rays taken.
    • If they are still using the boot for walking, they won’t need to wear it anymore after this appointment.
    • Most of the time, they won’t need to come back for any more appointments.

Will my child have problems with their leg after a toddler’s fracture?

  • Most of the time, this fracture has no long-term problems after it is healed.
  • Your child might limp or walk differently for up to 1 month after they stop wearing the boot (up to 2 months after injury).

What if my child still has problems?

Please call the Orthopedic Surgery Clinic at (816) 234-3075 for an appointment 2 months after the injury if:

  • Your child is still having pain, OR
  • Your child is still walking with a limp.
  • For more information, please visit the OrthoKids website.