It is a known fact that a greenstick fracture usually occurs among young children and the most common type of fracture affecting children. The fractures among children are different from the adults due to the anatomic and physiological differences in the developing skeleton. Take note that the bones of children are softer and spongy than the adults, thus resulting to a distinctive pattern of fractures.
A greenstick fracture is considered as a partial break in the bone. Since the bones of children are softer and more flexible than the adults, they are more likely to bend than break entirely. A good comparison is a branch of a young tree where the bone will simply bend and splinter, but not completely break.
Appearance of a greenstick fracture
Always bear in mind that a greenstick fracture might not be as obvious as other broken bones. This is due to the fact that the bone did not entirely break and the affected extremity still retained its normal size and shape. The child will complain of pain once the site of the break is touched and guarding behavior is exhibited when moving it.
Diagnosing a greenstick fracture
If you suspect a greenstick fracture, it is important to have it checked by the doctor. The doctor will require an X-ray in order to identify the fracture. Take note that it is not uncommon for the doctor to request for an X-ray of both the injured and uninjured extremity for comparison. In some cases, a CT scan might be requested as an addition to the X-ray.
Treatment for a greenstick fracture
The common mode of treatment for a greenstick fracture in the emergency setting is the application of a splint. Take note that the splint that will be used can be made out of plaster or fiberglass that is shaped to the extremity of the child. A splint is strikingly different than a cast. The cast basically wraps around the affected extremity while a splint is a half cast that is enveloped with an elastic bandage to hold it in place.
There are commercial splints available in the market but these do not fit properly and results to poor immobilization of the fracture. The moment a splint is applied, the individual must follow up with an orthopedic doctor for further assessment. As part of first aid care, you have to apply ice and keep the extremity elevated in an alternating manner for the initial days after the injury was sustained. Medications can also be given to help reduce the swelling and pain. You can take a course on first aid training so that you will learn how to properly manage fractures.
Healing of the bone
The healing of the bone will take weeks or months. As for a greenstick fracture, it usually heals at a faster rate than a bone that is completely broken. The doctor will occasionally assess how the fracture heals. In most cases, repeat X-ray is requested to help monitor the healing process.