Closed Reduction of a Fracture

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A fracture is a break in a bone. The fracture needs to be set in a better position so it can heal. This procedure is called closed reduction of a fracture. After the bone is in a better position, your child will wear a cast or splint to help the bone heal.

Before the procedure
  • Your child will get pain medicine.
  • Some children will get pain medicine to make them sleepy and forget the procedure. This is called procedural sedation. The Emergency Department will let you know if it's needed.
During the procedure
  • An orthopedic team member will reduce the fractured bone (put the bone in a better position). They will use a small X-ray machine to make sure the bone is in the right position.
  • A cast or splint is put on the injured arm or leg (limb).
  • Sometimes the bone can't be put in a good position. In that case, your child may need surgery to fix the bone.
 After the procedure
  • If the bone is in a good position, your child will likely go home after their bone is set. They may need to stay overnight to make sure the pain is controlled and there isn't too much swelling.
  • Tests, like an X-ray, an MRI, or a CAT scan, may be needed after the bone is reduced. This is to make sure the bone is in a good position and help decide if your child will need surgery to hold the bone in place.

Care at Home

Expect your child to be in a cast or splint for about 6 weeks while their fracture heals. The type of cast or splint may be changed at their follow-up appointment in the Orthopedic Clinic. This depends on where the fracture is, how it’s healing, and what the orthopedic provider thinks is best. 

Activity and Diet

Don't let your child put weight on the injured limb. If they have a leg injury, they should use crutches, or a walker as instructed.

Your child may eat their usual foods.

Don't let your child do these activities until the orthopedic provider says it's okay:

    • Gym
    • Jumping
    • Recess
    • Contact sports
    • Running
    • Climbing 

When to Call the Doctor

Call the Orthopedic Clinic at 614-722-5175, or return to the Emergency Room if:

  • The cast seems too tight
  • Your child cannot wiggle his or her fingers
  • Your child has new complaints of numbness
  • The pain cannot be controlled with medicine prescribed or recommended for your child
  • Your child has any side effects that continue or are very bothersome.

Follow-up With Orthopedic Clinic

  • To schedule your child’s first follow-up visit, call (614) 722-5175.
    • Call between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the next business day after the procedure. The appointment will be in 5 to 10 days.
    • Call the clinic if you can’t keep the appointment.
  • Expect to have regular follow-up appointments at least 4 times over the next 6 weeks after the procedure. Write down all your questions as you think of them. Bring this list with you to the appointment.
  • Your child will have X-rays to make sure the bone is still in a good position.


Closed Reduction of a Fracture (PDF)

HH-II-232 • ©, revised 2023 • Nationwide Children's Hospital