How to Treat a Buckle Fracture in Children

The Buckle Fracture is more commonly known as the Torus Fracture. This is a type of injury that children may become afflicted with. Children still have softer and more flexible bones and this makes them more prone to breaking them as compared to adults. Children’s bones are also more flexible which means that it is possible for one side of the bone to buckle or bend while the other side remains the same.

When a side of the bone gets bent but it does not go through all the way, this is called an incomplete fracture.

Buckle Fracture in Children

It is best to familiarize yourself with the two types of incomplete fractures:

  1. Buckle Fracture – This is the type of fracture wherein the bone compresses. Just one side of the bone is crumpled.
  2. Greenstick Fracture – This is also known as a tension fracture. This is when the bone is pulled from its normal position instead of being compressed on just one side.

Adults already have less elastic bones. The tendency is when the bone breaks, it breaks all throughout instead of just one side getting all the pressure from the fall. There are some cases wherein adults can also get buckle fractures. You are more prone to getting this type of fracture if:

  • You have osteoporosis.
  • Do not get enough nutrition to sustain your bones and your overall health.
  • Do not have a good sense of balance.

Possible Causes of a Buckle Fracture

A child whose leg or arm is broken has gone through a collision or has been hit hard by a solid object. The injury is severe and it has managed to crack a bone that has resulted in a buckle fracture but not severe enough for the whole bone to break. Some reasons for the injury are the following:

  • Engaging in physical activities that may involve playing roughly with their playmates.
  • Biking
  • Skateboarding
  • Tree Climbing

Basically, anything that involves the body can become a cause of a buckle fracture. It can be an issue if child abuse is the reason why the child has a buckle fracture.

Signs and Symptoms of a Buckle Fracture

A lot of incomplete fractures do not go through the skin so you may not be aware that your child already has a buckle fracture. Children may show that they are in pain but other than that, there are still other signs you have to watch out for:

  • There may be a slight deformation especially when the area becomes too inflamed.
  • There is swelling in the area where the fracture is.
  • The child experiences pain whenever he tries to move the affected area.
  • There are bruises that may start to appear on the skin.

If you see the signs and symptoms of a buckle fracture on your child, seek the help of a medical practitioner immediately.

Most Common Treatments for Buckle Fracture

The most common treatment for a buckle fracture is by immobilizing the area where the injury has taken place. This will only take a few weeks to a few months depending on the severity of the fracture. The buckle fracture normally heals faster than the greenstick fracture.
The two most common treatments for buckle fracture are the following:

  • Casting – This involves using plaster in order to hold the area in place.
  • Splinting – Splinting involves placing a hard object underneath the affected area and the area will be wrapped around in bandages to hold the hard object in place and promote healing.

There are a few advantages that should be noted in both treatments. Casts are preferred by parents because children do not complain of experiencing pain when the affected area is in a cast. The area cannot be moved at all so therefore, there is no pain. A splint, on the other hand, can make it easier for the child to dress up and do other normal activities because the splint can be removed.

It is best to consider the advantages of both before choosing the right treatment that will help your child heal better.

Taking Care of the Fracture at Home

Your child needs all the help that he can get especially during the first few days after the bone has been set. Here are some tips that will make the healing process easier:

  • It is important that the arm or the leg where the fracture is located will be elevated.
  • It is also important to ice the injured area every hour or every two hours during the first few days. Remember that the ice should not wet the cast or splint. You can wrap the ice in plastic before wrapping in cloth to prevent the cloth from getting wet.
  • Even if the child is saying that some portions of the cast are itchy, avoid placing creams or gels that are meant to make the itch go away as this can affect the healing of the fracture.

If in case there are some things that are not clear to you regarding how you can care for your child, you can call the doctor’s office. A nurse will be more than willing to assist you and give your proper suggestions on how to care for your child.

How to Remove The Splint

If you have decided that your child should wear a splint to help the bone recover, here is the process you can follow to remove the splint without hurting your child:

  1. Take your time in removing the splint. You are not in a rush and sudden movements may cause issues with how the bone is set.
  2. Make sure that your child is calm while you are removing the splint. He should not try to run or do anything drastic during the splint removal.
  3. You can make your child move his wrist gently if it is his arm that has gotten fractured. He can also move his ankles if it is his leg that has gotten fractured.

Putting the splint back is easy. You just have to do the same things but in reverse order. Once again, take your time in placing the splint back.

One of the major concerns of parents is if their child would be allowed to go back to school even with a fracture. A child can go to school and can do certain activities provided that the cast or splint is placed properly. The school should also have qualified authorities that can check on the cast or the splint when you request it.

It is advisable that you let your child stay in from school a few days after the accident has occurred but after a few days, the child can go back to his normal routine. Most children are able to move their hands and wrists after getting an injury. It can be trickier if the child has a splint or cast on his leg but this is manageable.

Recovery Period

The cast or the splint will be worn for up to 3 weeks. Some are required to wear it more because they have undergone surgery and the skin also needs time to heal. For children who have fractured their leg bone, they will be required to put off the pressure from the affected leg weeks after the cast or the splint has been removed in order to allow the leg to heal fully. Some children and adults are required to wear a walking boot to aid in making the injured bone heal faster.

A follow-up treatment with the doctor is required to ensure that the child is recovering well from the injury. The doctor will do the following:

  • Get another x-ray to ensure that the affected bones are healing nicely.
  • If not, another surgery will be set.
  • During the surgery, the bones will be set and a new cast or splint will be placed.

A person who has experienced having a buckled fracture should inform the doctor if he is experiencing a great deal of pain. In fact, the pain may be worse now than before. This is a sign that there is a problem with the recovery of the bones.

Possible Issues

There are a lot of children whose buckle fractures heal without any issues This type of fracture has only compressed the bone and has not displaced it which makes it easier to heal compared to other fractures. Most children grow up without issues with their bone growth.

Possible issues will only occur if the proper treatment will not be followed. Take note that children are prone to getting this type of fracture because they are usually energetic and they want to try new things that they have never tried before. When the child starts getting multiple fractures for no reason at all, this is the time when getting fractures can become a problem.

If you suspect that your child is prone to getting fractures as compared to normal children, do not be afraid to voice out your concerns to your doctor. There are a series of tests that can assess your child’s bone health just to make sure that everything is fine.