Sprains vs. broken bones

Thomas Grogan, MD Orthopedic Surgeon, shares advice for parents on how to tell whether your child has a sprain or a broken bone after an injury
The Differences Between A Sprain And A Broken Bone
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Sprains vs. broken bones

One of the questions that I get asked a lot, especially when a child falls down is, is my child broken? Do I really have to come see you? What do I look for? Interestingly enough, there are a few clues that you can look for. When it comes to the upper extremities or arms is, are they right-handed or left-handed? As it turns out, 73 percent of kids break the non-dominant side. If a kid falls down and they are holding their dominant side or their throwing with or write with, the chances of it being a fracture are much less than if they were holding the other side. That's one of the questions I ask back. Another interesting little tidbit is when it comes to the wrist -- and kids fall down all the time and hurt themselves. When it comes to the wrist, can the move the wrist in terms of up or down? Can they move the wrist from side to side or up and around? If they have trouble rotating, typically it's a fracture. If they have trouble going up and down, typically, it's a sprain. That's a little bit of tidbit or news about when do we go see the doctor.

Thomas Grogan, MD Orthopedic Surgeon, shares advice for parents on how to tell whether your child has a sprain or a broken bone after an injury


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Thomas Grogan, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon

Dr. Grogan is a practicing pediatric orthopedist in Santa Monica, California. He has seen over 40,000 patients in his practice alone. Dr. Grogan graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in Biology and received his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.  Dr. Grogan’s orthopedic training has included an orthopedic residency at UCLA plus several orthopedic fellowships in pediatric orthopedics, trauma, and NIH sponsored joint replacement surgery. Following his orthopedic training he returned to Los Angeles, spending six years at Shriner’s Hospital for Crippled Children, including serving as Assistant Chief in 1996 and 1997. In addition to his clinical practice, he spent several years involved in managed care consulting as an orthopedic surgeon and has developed special expertise in this area. He has collaborated with the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in the development of a handbook and audiotape entitled, Health Care Reform and Managed Care: A Guidebook for Orthopedic Surgeons. In addition, he has served as the lead faculty member for the AAOS for their 1995, 12 city educational seminar, “Taking Charge: Managed Care Contracting for Orthopaedic Surgeons” and as a faculty member for the AAOS’s 1996 seminar series entitled, “Winning at Risk: The Interplay of Cost, Quality, and Access in Orthopaedic Practice”.  He most recently served as a faculty member for the AAOS’s 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 seminars, “Practice Management Symposium for Practicing Orthopaedic Surgeons’. He is currently chairman of the Practice Management Committee for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and a member of their Council on Education. He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, Honor Medical Society, the Sigma XI Scientific Research Society, California Orthopaedic Association (COA), the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA), the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), and is a diplomate of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.

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