Greenstick fracture is a mild fracture of bone which happens due to breaking of bones that are soft. Usually, this condition is seen in kids and infants; they get affected by it the most. Other than Greenstick Fracture, it is also called Torus or Buckle Fracture. It has been named Greenstick Fracture owing to its analogy. A young twig is when broken after bending, one part of it remains stressed but still unbroken while the other breaks. It is common in kid because their bones are much more flexible and fragile than of those of adults and thus, more open to damage. This often happens due to a direct hit or a fall – young kids, those who can’t express themselves in words just cry incessantly when they get this fracture.
Symptoms and Causes
The symptoms of this condition are somewhat similar to the standard bone fracture and include redness, bruises, pain and inflammation in the region of the fracture. The bone doesn’t break in Greenstick Fracture, just bends as because of the same reason, these fractures are more stable than the standard bone fractures. Hence, heightened pain in the fractured region and also deformities are missing in this condition.
A fall or a blow can cause bending of bones. Injuries in kids while playing are very frequent and thus, this fracture is most seen in kids. In most cases, the arms get affected by this condition because of the tendency of humans of extending their arms before falling out of an impulse to support the body which is the natural reaction anyway.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Normally, Greenstick Fracture is hard to detect. It is often confused with a bad bruise or sprain or any other soft-tissue injury. That is due to the fact that it doesn’t have the same symptoms as the fractures usually do and thus, diagnosis is a bit hard. Nonetheless, a doctor can easily catch the condition using a CT-scan or X-ray scan. Many-a-times, x-rays of the uninjured bone are compared to the injured bone by the doctor to check for abnormalities in the injured bone which otherwise go undetected. Sometimes, X-rays don’t fully register the soft bones of kids and then the doctors need to perform an Ultrasound or Computerized Tomography scan to get better images of the bones and to diagnose the Greenstick Fracture.
The fracture needs to be subjugated in order to be treated. The doctors treating this condition will first pull the bone apart just a little, and push it in the position that will help it get as straight as it was before. For complete healing of the fracture and to ensure that the bone grows back, cast is used and the region is immobilized. Cast is mostly used because it restricts the motility of the bone but sometimes, removable splint could also be recommended by the doctor if he feels it will be more beneficial for the kid. Splint is actually better than a cast because the kid can easily remove it when he needs to take a shower.
Moreover, for kids with Greenstick fractures of the distal radius, the splint gets better results. Casts in various colors and designs are quite popular these days. The water-resistant ones are also available but a child with greenstick fracture should not be allowed to swim unless the lining of the cast is water-proof too. As a matter of fact, this fracture heals quickly, especially in kids. It is less painful than other types of fractures as well. The cast or splint could be replaced with a smaller cast in three to four weeks, as per the instructions of the doctor treating it.
Although the majority of Greenstick Fractures heal with a case, in some individuals, it could fail to heal one hundred percent. In these cases, a surgery might be required to take care of the fracture.