Kids are naturally curious. They like moving around and sometimes they pay a little attention to their surroundings. Thus, falls and injuries are very common in children. It is not surprising that most bone fracture patients are children and adolescents.
One of the most common fractures that occur to children is buckle fractures. What is it? How does it happen? What is the treatment we can give to children with buckle fractures? Continue reading to find out the answers.
Definition of Buckle Fracture
A buckle fracture, also known as a torus fracture, is a familiar injury appeared in kids. Torus is derived from a Latin word “Tori”, which means swelling. Kids have softer bones and therefore one side of those bones may buckle upon those bones without dislocating the other side.
Basically fractures that happen to our bones can be divided into two types of fractures—complete fractures and incomplete fractures. A buckle fracture is a form of incomplete fracture. It mostly happens in the long bones such as femur and tibia.
How Does a Buckle Fracture Occur?
Generally a fracture occurs when the bone gets more amount of pressure than it could handle. It either bends or breaks. Buckle fractures appear when the bone compresses and therefore a compression injury occurs. The bone is crumpling on one side of the bone because the side of the bone below the compression crunches down upon itself.
There are also greenstick fractures, which is a tension injury. The greenstick fractures happen when the bone is dragged too far on one side of the bone. These two forms of fractures usually occur in kids, specifically aged 1 to 5 years old. Their bones are still young and elastic, and therefore those bones are easy to sustain injuries.
How Do You Know If Your Kids Have a Buckle Fracture?
Buckle fractures often occurred when kids fall on a stretched hand or fall on the forearm. It can also be caused by a straight blow to the forearm. Buckle fractures do not usually happen in adults since adult bones have lost its elasticity. Kids’ bones can survive several deforming force so that the incomplete fractures can happen.
A buckle fracture often causes several symptoms such as swelling, pain, or extreme tenderness. In serious cases, buckle fractures can also form a kind of deformity. In a buckle fracture, however, any tangible deformity rarely occurs. Extreme swelling may look like there is a deformity, but it may not be the case.
If your kids fall from a certain height or sustain injuries due to a blow from a blunt object, and swelling appears in their arms followed by pain when touched, it is advised to see a doctor immediately. The easiest way to diagnose the buckle fracture is by conducting an x-ray examination. X-ray examination can capture a buckle fracture with these images:
- There are no noticeable fracture lines.
- There is a buckle of the cortex or a subtle malformation.
- Angulation will be the only diagnostic sign in several situations.
How Long Does It Take for Buckle Fractures to Heal?
Patients with buckle fractures rarely have to stay at the hospital. A buckle fracture can be cured by stopping the injury for a short duration. It is usually done for three or four weeks, with regular check-ups with the doctor. A buckle fracture tends to heal faster than the greenstick fractures.
What Kind of Treatments Patients Will Have to Go Through?
Casting and splinting are two treatments for a buckle fracture. The cast will protect the injured area very well. The cast also serves to immobilize the fractured limb.
This treatment is safe since they cannot remove the cast. Moreover, kids who are wearing a cast do not usually complain of pain, although it may limit their movements. They will need to wear the cast for three to four weeks. Once the cast is removed, kids will feel the stiffness. After two or three weeks, the stiffness will go away.
On the other hand, splint is a more simple treatment. It is more flexible than the cast. Parents can remove the splint for a moment when kids take a bath. Once healing is complete, parents can remove it easily. Whether using the cast or the splint, kids’ comfort must be considered. Parents should discuss the best treatment option with a doctor or a medical team.
In addition to the cast or the splint, the doctor may also prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NASIDs), such as acetaminophen, to relieve the pain. For a stronger pain, the doctor will prescribe a different and stronger medication.
Buckle Fracture Treatments in More Severe Cases
Doctors or medical teams will recommend a surgery if the fracture is unbalanced or the bones have started to settle at a wrong angle or position. The surgeon will reposition the broken bones and then hold them in place with pins, casts, or metal implants. A surgery will be recommended for a serious fracture only. A common buckle fracture will only receive casting or splinting and medication to relieve pain.
Will the Bones Heal to Normal after the Buckle Fractures?
Kids’ bones have an excellent capacity to heal themselves. Kids with younger age have a higher healing capacity than the older. Kids can heal its injuries in several weeks, whereas adults take several months to heal their injuries. Medical treatment for kids is also different from the medical treatment for adults.
In most cases, buckle fracture patients heal completely and the bones grow normally as they get older. So, parents whose children get buckle fractures do not need to worry about their children being physically deformed. However, if you are concerned with your kids’ growth after the buckle fractures heal, consult to your doctor to get a professional advice.