What is a wrist buckle fracture?

Every year, numerous cases of fractures occur in both children and adults and wrist fractures are included in the list. When it comes to a buckle fracture, it is a specific form of fracture that only develops among children. Buckle fractures are considered as the most common wrist fracture in children.

The elongated bones in the forearm develop from the growth plates positioned close to the end. These growth plates are un-calcified cartilaginous areas where the bone-producing and support cells are dividing rapidly. The growth plates appear as clear regions that extend all over the bone on an X-ray. The bones grow in length and width starting at the growth plates which is not as strong as the regular bone.

Anatomy of the wrist

The wrist is comprised of two elongated bones – ulna and radius. The radius is positioned beneath the thumb while the ulna is on the exterior of the arm. There are 8 small-sized carpal bones that move across the radius and ulna to allow the wrist to bend back and forth and from side to side. When the hand is turned, the radius is rotated around the ulna close the elbow. Doctors refer the palm side of the wrist as the volar surface while the upper side is known as the dorsal surface.

Wrist buckle fracture

A buckle fracture usually occurs once a child falls and lands on an extended hand.

What is a buckle fracture?

A buckle fracture usually occurs once a child falls and lands on an extended hand. Children who sustained this injury complain of wrist pain and refuse to use the arm. In most cases, the child can identify one area of the wrist as sore. In addition, the affected arm is evidently deformed.

When it comes to a buckle fracture, the bones in the forearm are compressed to create a “buckle” or bump on the dorsal surface of the bones that can be detected with an X-ray while the opposite side of the bone is normal.

Other similar fractures

Other forms of wrist fractures can also occur among children.

  • The greenstick fractures can cause the bone to bend on the opposite side.
  • Growth plate fractures can go through part of the forearm growth plate
  • Galeazzi fracture on the radius affects both sides of the broken bone and the ulna might be displaced.

Management of buckle fractures

If a child is suspected with a buckle fracture, the affected arm might be placed under a cast for 3-6 weeks. Nevertheless, some doctors will prefer a splint on the wrist. Remember that there is no difference in the healing rate of the fracture between splints and casts. Take note that as the bones grow, they remodel. In just a span of a year after sustaining a buckle fracture, there is no indication of a previous injury in the forearm bones among children.


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