MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: Is it possible to break your growth plate in your foot?

Date: Wed Oct 21 21:12:55 1998
Posted By: Daniel Fletcher, Anthropologist, Pre-Med.
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 908487858.Me

I am not a foot specialist, but here's what I do know. All bones, 
including the many small bones in the feet, have growth areas called 
Epiphyses, or growth plates. These areas, usually the distal ends in long 
bones, are soft, spongey areas of honeycombed bone cells(Osteoblasts) and 
vascular tissue(capillaries). The growth plates remain soft and in a 
constant state of growth and expansion until we stop our major growth 
period, around 21 years of age. Unfortunately it is possible to break and 
injure this part of your bone, wherever that bone may be, and it may 
adversely affect the way your bones finally set in relation to one 
another. Since you are still growing, however, it shouldn't take more than 
two months for it to heal. For this reason, it is not a good idea for 
young people to participate in activities that cause heavy impacting of 
the growth plates, like football or basketball. It can literally stunt 
your growth and make you shorter than you might possibly be. Also, it can 
give you chronic arthritis and pain in your joints that will haunt you the 
rest of your life. Ask any Gymnast.
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