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Child Abuse

Spiral Humerous Fracture

03/20/2006

Question:

Is is possible that a fall from a swing can cause a toddler to have a spiral fracture on the upper arm?

Answer:

Any long bone, including the humerus, can have a spiral type of fracture.  Spiral fractures occur when the extremity is twisted.  One end of the extremity must either be fixed (held) in position while twisting occurs or it must be twisted in the opposite direction to the other end.  Spiral fractures can be caused by inflicted injury (child abuse) or they can be accidental.  

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Response by:

Robert Shapiro, MD
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati