Observation Versus Cast Treatment of Toddler’s Fracture: A Prospective Pilot Study


“Toddler’s fractures” are common in the pediatric population. Traditional treatment recommends casting these fractures, although with their inherent stability, may be unnecessary. This study evaluated if toddler’s fractures can be treated with observation alone as opposed to casts. A prospective pilot study was performed with randomization and observational arms. Children were placed in short casts or observed without immobilization. A 21-day log was given to families to record walking. Follow up with radiographs occurred at 3 and 12 weeks. Twenty-one patients enrolled, three randomized and 18 chose their treatment. Thirteen patients were casted, and eight went without immobilization. Ambulation time was similar between groups (p = 0.260). Three without immobilization returned early but none converted to cast. All fractures healed uneventfully. There were no cast complications. Toddler’s fractures treated with or without cast immobilization appears to be safe and effective but should be a shared decision between physician and parents. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 32(3):207–211, 2023)

Key words: toddler’s fracture, immobilization, time to ambulation

SKU: JSOA-2023-32-3-12 Categories: , Tags: , ,

Lauren Hyer, MD; Christopher Bray, MD; Edward Bray, MD; Stephanie Tanner, MS; Rebecca Snider, BS; and Michael Beckish, MD