A GP guide to paediatric hand trauma

With a shorter window of intervention than adults, it is important to be aware of these common injury patterns of hand trauma in the paediatric population

Need to know:

  • Assessment of injuries may be difficult in children owing to differences in injury mechanisms, open growth plates and patient compliance.
  • The window for intervention in hand fractures is shorter than in adults because of faster rates of healing.
  • Fracture of the distal phalanx growth plate (Seymour fracture) needs to be considered in any child presenting with a flexed distal interphalangeal joint and a painful, bruised finger or nail bed. These should be referred promptly.

Paediatric hand trauma is extremely common and results in a range of soft-tissue and bony injuries.

Before considering the common injury patterns in children, it is important to mention that, during the assessment, other injuries should be excluded, immunisation history reviewed and relevant past medical history explored.