Have you heard of a buckle fracture?

Our hand therapist Marnie recently had a patient at Osteohealth with a buckle fracture of the wrist, which posed the question… what is it?

A buckle fracture of the wrist, also called a torus fracture, is an extremely common injury in children. These injuries occur when the bone compresses, often after a fall on an outstretched hand. As children have softer, more flexible bones, one side of the bone may buckle or compress upon itself without disrupting the other side of the bone. Buckle fractures don’t occur in adults because the adult bone is less elastic.

The most common signs of a wrist buckle fracture are tenderness, swelling and pain with movement. There is usually no deformity however, there is a lot of swelling and the area can look a little misshapen. Buckle fractures can be difficult to see on x-ray.

 

Treatment of a wrist buckle fracture

This injury is treated by wearing a removable back slab or thermoplastic splint which can be removed for bathing or showering for a period of 3-4 weeks. Pain is usually not very severe and can be managed with simple pain relief medication and an optional arm sling for comfort.

Buckle fracture injuries of the wrist are stable and usually heal quickly without problems. Further x-rays or follow up appointments with the GP or fracture clinic are usually not required. Following removal of the splint wrist, movement may be a little stiff and sore at first. Hand therapy can assist to regain the movement and strength of the wrist. Rough and tumble play and contact sports should be avoided for 6 weeks.

-Marnie Lowry