Greenstick fractures occur when the bone bends and breaks, but the bone does not break into two separate parts. This fracture is called the greenstick name which means a young tree branch, because it looks similar to what happens when you try to break a branch from a young tree. This type Fractures usually occur in the long bones, such as arm bones, shins, femurs and other long bones. The condition is also known as “partial fracture.”
Children are more likely to experience greenstick fractures because their bones are softer and less fragile than older persons. Greenstick fractures are very common. In the United States, millions of children experience this type of fracture every year. Greenstick fractures often occur when a child falls into an outstretched position.
Greenstick Fracture Types
The following are the types of greenstick fractures:
Clavicle Greenstick Fracture
When a child is hit directly into the upper chest and shoulder or into an outstretched hand, he may suffer a clavicle greenstick fracture. The clavicle bone becomes stronger in about 20 years, which means even teenagers may get such fractures.
Wrist Greenstick Fracture:
This fracture occurs when a child falls from a height and lands on the palm of his hand or gets a hit directly into the palm of his hand. The lower third or middle third of the fingers or arm bones are broken in the wrist greenstick fracture.
Tibia Greenstick Fracture:
In the tibia greenstick fracture, the middle third or bottom third of the tibia stick is broken. This can happen when a child gets a direct hit to his leg or lands from a height on his feet.
Greenstick Fracture Causes
Greenstick Fractures occur when children:
- Fall while playing or exercising.
- Use their arms to restrain themselves when falling (therefore, arm bone fractures are more common than leg bone fractures).
Greenstick Fracture Risk Factors
The following factors may increase the tendency of greenstick fractures:
- Common in children.
- Vitamin D deficiency.
Greenstick Fracture Symptoms
Your child may not show any symptoms and may continue to use his affected limbs in full motion if his Greenstick Fracture is mild. However, in some cases, your child may suffer the following consequences:
- Deformities or twisted limbs
- Significant swelling
You should contact your doctor if your child is feeling continued pain, cannot withstand the burden, or cannot use the injured limbs normally.
Greenstick Fracture Diagnosis and Test
During a physical examination, the doctor will examine the affected area of pain, swelling, deformity or open wounds. The child will be asked to gently move the limbs or feet.
X-ray tests can reveal most greenstick fractures. Some greenstick fractures are difficult to see because small bends in the bones may not appear on X-rays.
Greenstick Fracture Complications
Greenstick fractures cause complications if left untreated. Below is a list of complications and problems that can arise if a greenstick fracture is not treated:
- Pressure wounds
- Stiffness of the plaster
Greenstick Fracture Treatment and Drugs
Most fractures in the arms and legs require a cast to keep the bones organized while the fractures are healed. If the bones are in poor alignment, they may need to be repositioned, usually under sedation.
At some point, the doctor may decide to remove the cast in order to work well together, especially if the fault has largely healed. The benefit of casts is that your child can take it off briefly while bathing or showering.
X-ray tests are required within a few weeks to ensure the fracture heals properly, to check bone alignment, and to determine when a cast is no longer needed. Most fractures require four to eight weeks to fully heal, depending on the damage and child’s age.
After the cast is removed, the child should avoid high-impact activities for one to two weeks to keep your child from re-injuring the arms or legs.
Your child will quickly rebuild muscle and extremity function to be able to return to daily activities normally. Physical therapy is usually not required.
Greenstick Fracture Healing Time
Although the duration of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the period of healing of greenstick fractures if treated properly under expert supervision:
- In 1 – 3 months.