A buckle fracture, also called an incomplete or torus fracture, refers to a break on only one side of the forearm (radius) near the wrist. A buckle fracture is very common in children. Children have softer, more flexible, and less brittle bones, which can cause one side of the bone to “buckle” under too much stress.
CAUSES OF A BUCKLE FRACTURE
A broken arm can happen as a result of a fall or from a serious impact. Since the bones in children are softer and more pliable, a fall or impact can cause the bone to “buckle” without breaking. Sports and other physical activities, such as riding a bike, roller skating, or a fall while climbing can result in an injury. Adults with osteoporosis, balance problems, general weakness, and poor nutrition are at a higher risk for a buckle fracture.
SYMPTOMS OF A BUCKLE FRACTURE
By definition, a buckle fracture is a stable fracture and are less painful than unstable fractures. Common symptoms for a buckle fracture include:
- Pain: immediately following the injury, but gets better when stable and protected
- Deformity: in the arm if the fracture is serious enough
- Swelling: at the site of the fracture
- Tenderness: around the area where the bone is fractured
DIAGNOSING A BUCKLE FRACTURE
To confirm the diagnosis, the physician will order x-rays of the forearm. X-rays allow the physician to see if the bone is broken, if there are pieces of broken bone, and whether there is displacement (a gap between broken bones).
Treatment for broken bones follows one basic rule: broken pieces must be put back into position and prevent from moving until they have healed. The bone will be set and stabilized by a cast or removable splint to prevent the bone from moving or being further injured. If the break is bad enough, and the bones do not line up properly in order to heal, surgery may be required.