Buckle injury and common questions about buckle fracture

A buckle injury of the wrist is a small area of compressed bone. The bone will have a tiny fracture, which is so minor that it may be difficult to see on X-ray. The wrist may be tender, slightly swollen, and painful to move. There is no deformity in the wrist, which means the wrist will not be out of its usual shape.

Fracture care- Buckle injury and common questions about buckle fracture

The sheet provides information about what to do once your child has been treated in the hospital for a buckle injury. If you think your child has a fracture and you are looking for first aid advice, see our fact sheet Fractures (broken bones).

Buckle injury and common questions about buckle fracture

Buckle injuries are treated by wearing a removable back slab (a partial cast held in place with bandages) or ready-made splint, which should be worn as much as possible but can be removed for bathing or showering. Let learn more about What is buckle fracture and common questions about it. An arm sling is optional and may help reduce any pain or discomfort.

Care at home 

Buckle injuries may be painful. Although immobilizing the arm with the backstab or splint will help to reduce the pain, additional pain relief (e.g. paracetamol) is sometimes needed. Give the pain relief medication as required, following the directions on the packet or as directed by the doctor. Never cut or attempt to modify the cast, and make sure you avoid getting it wet.

Follow-up

Because buckle injuries are stable and heal quickly without problems, most children will not need a follow-up appointment with the GP or hospital. Further X-rays or physiotherapy are usually not required. Three weeks after their injury, your child can stop wearing their back slab or splint. 

After the back slab or splint is removed. Wrist movement may be a little stiff and sore at first. Contact sports (or rough and tumble play) should be avoided for six weeks after the injury.

Fractures of the wrist and forearm account for almost half of all bone breaks in children. Most of these are buckle fractures. It is a widespread event, and the vast majority of buckle fractures are treated quickly and easily with a cast or splint.

How common are buckle fractures?

Technically speaking, the answer to the question “can broken bones heal without a cast?” is yes. Assuming conditions are just right, a broken bone can heal without a cast. However, (and very importantly) it doesn’t work in all cases. Likewise, a broken bone left to heal without a form may heal improperly.

Can a fracture heal without the cast?

A sling may help reduce discomfort. Most children will not need a follow-up appointment or X-ray, because buckle fractures usually heal quickly without any problems. Avoid contact sports for six weeks after the injury.

Can you play sports with a buckle fracture?

Torus fractures, also known as buckle fractures, are incomplete fractures of the shaft of a long bone that is characterized by bulging of the cortex. They result from trabecular compression due to an axial loading force along the long axis of the bone. Health care providers treat most buckle fractures with a splint.

How Are Buckle Fractures Treated?

A buckle fracture usually happens when the bone is compressed (pressed together with force). It can happen, for example, when a child falls onto an outstretched hand.

How Do Buckle Fractures Happen?

This type of fracture usually happens in children under ten years old. That’s because their bones are softer and more flexible than adult bones. So the injury makes the bone bend and buckle, rather than break.

Who Gets Buckle Fractures?

A buckle (or torus) fracture is a type of broken bone. One side of a bone bends, raising a little buckle, without breaking the other side of the bone.

Take your child to your GP if:

your child’s wrist remains very painful or swollen three weeks after the injury. your child will not use their wrist, hand, or fingers within two to three days of the back slab or splint is removed.

Key points to remember

A buckle fracture in the wrist is a small area of compressed bone. Your child should wear a removable back slab (partial cast) or splint for three weeks. A sling may help reduce discomfort. Most children will not need a follow-up appointment or X-ray, because buckle fractures usually heal quickly without any problems. Avoid contact sports for six weeks after the injury.