It is important to note that greenstick fractures are exclusive to children and considered as the most common type of fractures among children. The fractures that occur among children are distinct from the adults due to the physiologic and anatomic differences in the developing skeletal system. The bones of children are porous and pliable than the adults, thus there are certain differences in the pattern of the fractures.
Identifying a greenstick wrist fracture
A greenstick fracture involves an incomplete break of the bone. Always bear in mind that the bones of children are flexible and softer than the adults, thus they are more likely to bend than completely break. The bones are similar to the branches of a young tree which simply bend but do not completely break.
A greenstick fracture might not be apparent than other cases of broken bones. Since the bone does not break entirely, the affected extremity might appear to retain its normal size and shape. In most cases, the child can complain of pain once the affected area is being touched and guarding behavior is evident when the extremity is moved. If you want to learn how to properly manage a greenstick fracture, read here.
How a greenstick wrist fracture is diagnosed
The doctor will request for an X-ray to identify the fracture. Take note that it is not uncommon for the doctor to order an X-ray of both the injured and unaffected extremities to serve as a comparison. In some cases, a CT scan might be requested in addition to an X-ray.
Treatment for a greenstick fracture
The usual mode of treatment for a greenstick wrist fracture in the emergency room is splinting. Take note that the splint can be made out of fiberglass or plaster that is molded to the affected extremity.
There is a difference between a splint and a cast. Once a cast is applied over the affected area, it covers the entire extremity while a splint functions as a half cast that is enclosed using an elastic bandage to hold it in place. There are commercially-made splints but do not correctly fit and will only lead to poor immobilization of the fracture.
When a splint is applied, the individual should follow-up with an orthopedic doctor for further assessment. You can apply an ice pack and make sure that the affected extremity is elevated in an intermittent manner for the initial days after the injury. Medications can also help with the swelling and pain.
The healing process of the bone typically occurs over weeks or several months. When it comes to a greenstick wrist fracture, it usually heals at a quicker rate than a bone that is completely broken. The doctor will also assess the individual periodically to check how the fracture heals. In such cases, repeated X-rays are taken to help monitor the healing process.