What is A Greenstick Fracture? How does it Happen?

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My elder sister told me that her 6-year-old son has a greenstick fracture and has to rest for a few days to recover. But what is a greenstick fracture and what does the greenstick mean? I was so confused about this. Can anyone offer me any information about this problem?

4 Answers

These messages are for mutual support and information sharing only. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.

A greenstick fracture is a fracture in a young, soft bone in which the bone bends and breaks. It is one of the 7 types of fractures, which are separately:

  • Transverse fracture. A transverse fracture occurs when a bone breaks at a 90-degree angle to the long axis of the bone;
  • Oblique fracture;
  • Comminuted fracture; 
  • Greenstick fracture;
  • Stress fracture; 
  • Pathologic fracture.
What does young, soft bone mean?
Bones are most soft during infancy and childhood, at which time greenstick fractures occur most often.Thus, you can interpreted as that greenstick fracture happens mostly among infancy or young children.
Sorry to hear that, but my younger sister has also had a greenstick fracture, so I know something about the treatment.

Actually the treatment is easy for the broken bone is soft and young and grows quickly. The children who have greenstick fracture are usually given pain medication or sedatives, or occasionally general anesthesia for the procedure. Then it will be treated with a cast, which helps not only to keep the bones in place as they heal, but also to prevent further breakage of the already damaged bone.
How long does it usually take to heal?
The length of healing depends on the location and the severity of the fracture. For example, a simple buckle fracture will need a plaster cast for 2 to 3 weeks and be completely healed in 4 weeks. In addition, children usually take half of the time that an adult need to recover from a similar fracture.
What are the symptoms of a fracture?
Signs and symptoms vary depending on the severity of the greenstick fracture. In mild cases, it might be similar to sprains or bruises while in more severe cases, an obvious deformity accompanied by significant pain and swelling may be caused.
The greenstick fracture is usually caused by some bending forces. For example, falling down from some high places may cause a greenstick fracture. Also, besides it, non-accidental injury more commonly causes spiral (twisting) fractures while a blow on the forearm or shin could cause a green stick fracture.
Your nephew's lucky for what he needs is just some rest. I guess the doctor has immobilized the bone with a cast or a splint and asked him to remain it in place for 4-6 weeks. But in more severe cases, like my son, he had just a surgery to realign the bone.