Greenstick fracture

Greenstick fracture: Description, Causes and Risk Factors: The bending of a bone with incomplete fracture involving the convex side of the curve only. Greenstick fractureA greenstick fracture is a type of mild bone fracture which is most commonly seen in children. In a greenstick fracture, extreme force causes a bone to bend, breaking partway through, much like a green twig when it is bent. A child's bones are softer and more flexible than those of an adult, so they're more likely to bend than to break completely. This flexibility can result in a greenstick fracture. In a greenstick fracture, the bone cracks but doesn't break all the way through — like when you try to break a green stick of wood. There are three basic forms of greenstick fracture. In the first a transverse fracture occurs in the cortex, extends into the midportion of the bone and becomes oriented along the longitudinal axis of the bone without disrupting the opposite cortex.
  • The second form is a torus or buckling fracture, caused by impaction.
  • The third is a bow fracture in which the bone becomes curved along its longitudinal axis.
A common cause of a greenstick fracture is a fall, as falls can cause a bone to bend further than it is able too. Blunt trauma such as a blow can also cause such a this fracture. The name "greenstick fracture" really is apt, because the best illustration of this fracture involves picking up a young twig and bending it; part of the twig breaks, generally not very cleanly, while the other side stays whole, although it may be stressed from the bending process. The prognosis for this type of fracture is generally good, with some greenstick fractures healing in as little as three weeks when they are promptly diagnosed and treated. Many children break a limb at some point due to their active lives, and a greenstick fracture is typically nothing to be concerned about, although it does require medical treatment. Symptoms: Some clinical features of a greenstick fracture are similar to those of a standard long bone fracture- greenstick fractures normally cause pain at the injured area. As these fractures are specifically a pediatric problem, an older child will be protective of the fractured part and babies may cry inconsolably. As per a standard fracture, the area may be swollen and either red or bruised. Greenstick fractures are stable fractures as a part of the bone remains intact and unbroken so this type of fracture normally causes a bend to the injured part, rather than a distinct deformity, which is problematic. Diagnosis: X-rays can reveal most greenstick fractures. Your doctor may also ask for an X-ray of the uninjured limb, for comparison purposes. Some greenstick fractures are difficult to see because a child's soft bones may not show up as well on X-rays. In these cases, an ultrasound or computerized tomography (CT) scan may provide better images. Treatment: Broken bones, even greenstick fractures, need to be immobilized so that they can grow back together. Casts are the most common way to keep a bone still, but your doctor may decide that a removable splint could work just as well. The benefit of a splint is that your child might be able to take it off briefly for a bath or shower. Most casts now are made of a water-resistant material and are available in a variety of colors or designs. Unless the lining of the cast is also waterproof, your child should not go swimming wearing a cast. Your doctor may want to X-ray the bone again at a later date to make sure it is healing properly. Children's bones tend to heal faster than do those of adults, so your child's cast or splint may be removed or replaced with a smaller cast in as little as three to four weeks. NOTE: The above information is for processing purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.

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