Greenstick Fractures

What are Greenstick Fractures?

Greenstick fractures occur in children because their bones are softer and more flexible than those of adults. A greenstick fracture occurs when the child’s bone cracks or bends without breaking completely into separate pieces. It might be difficult to diagnose the condition, as the child might still be able to use his/her affected limb normally, thus making those fractures commonly mistaken for bruises or sprains.

Greenstick fractures occur when children:

  • Fall during playing or sports activities
  • Use their arms to catch themselves when falling (which is why arm fractures are more common than leg fractures)

Affected children may not show any symptoms and may continue to use the affected limb with full motion if the greenstick fracture is mild. However, in some cases they can suffer from the following:

  • A deformed or twisted limb
  • Pain
  • Significant swelling

Parents of the patient need to contact the doctor if the child experiences persistent pain, cannot bear weight or cannot use the injured limb normally.

Treatment of greenstick fractures includes:

  • Follow-up x-rays to check the healing process
  • Immobilising the injured limb in a cast or a splint

Since children’s bone heal faster than those of adults, the affected child may only need to stay in splint or cast for three to four weeks before it is removed or replaced with a smaller cast.

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