A child has softer bones that are more flexible as compared to the bones of an adult. Therefore, a child’s bones are more susceptible to bending and breakage. The damage resulting from the flexibility of a child’s bones is called a greenstick fracture. A greenstick fracture is not a complete breakage of a bone. A greenstick fracture is not an easy injury to diagnose because of the fact that it does not result in any obvious signs and symptoms of broken bone. Even incomplete broken bone injuries, including greenstick fractures, need to be immobilized in order to encourage proper healing and growth of the affected bone. The material posted on this page on greenstick fractures is for learning purposes only. If you suspect that you have a fracture seek medical attention immediately. To learn how to recognize and manage fractures register for a first aid class with a credible provider near you.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of greenstick fractures include:
- Twisted or unusually bent limb
Sometimes there may not be any signs or symptoms of greenstick fractures. The sharp pain and deformity of an affected limb may not be apparent in case of greenstick fractures, unlike classic broken bone injuries. Moreover, it may be difficult to tell if the child has a greenstick fracture or a soft-tissue injury, such as a severe bruise or a sprain, making diagnosis more difficult.
When to seek medical attention
See your doctor if your child is facing difficulty bearing weight or has reduced range of motion of the affected limb. Causes Fractures in children normally occur from falls or sports activities. The bones in a child’s arms are most likely to get damages because they are used while catching yourself while you fall.
Broken bones and greenstick fractures require immobilization in order to allow the bones to brow back properly together. Casts are usually used to keep a bone in place; however, removable splints can also be used for immobilization. Splints are preferred at times because they can be easily removed when your child has to take a bath or a shower. Nowadays, casts are manufactured using a water-resistant material. Casts are also available in many designs and colors so that your child feels more comfortable with them. If the lining of the cast is not waterproof, your child should avoid swimming with the cast on. This may be followed up with an X-ray to evaluate the condition of the bone again and check whether the bone is healing properly or not. Most often, the bones of children tend to heal much faster than in adults, therefore, a child’s splint may be replaced with a smaller splint or cast or removed within just three to four weeks.
The following preventive steps may reduce the chances of having a greenstick fracture:
- Encourage your child to exercise regularly. This will build stronger bones
- Make sure that your child is wearing safety gear during sports activities
- Car seats and seat belts must be used for children and adults of all ages
- Children should take adequate calcium from their diet. Make sure you consult your doctor about how much calcium is suitable as the required amount may vary with age