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Buckle Fracture

Buckle fracture at the wrist, is a common injury in children under 12.  Usually the buckle fracture involves the distal radius, but it may involve the ulna or both.  Buckle fractures may not be readily identified as there may be no noticeable deformity, but the child's wrist may be swollen and painful to touch.  Sometimes a small bump can be seen or felt.  The child may avoid moving the affected arm due to pain.

A buckle fracture, sometimes called a torus fracture or compression fracture, occurs when a bone has been compressed, most often from a fall, causing the outside of the bone to buckle.  The bone does not break right through as it does in adult fractures because childrens' bones are less brittle than adults' bones.  The injury may be difficult to see on x-ray.

X-ray image showing buckling of the cortex of the distal radius.

Buckle Fracture Distal Radius

Custom made wrist immobilisation splint to protect a buckle fracture in a child

Custom-made Buckle Fracture Splint

Buckle Fracture Treatment

Buckle fractures are considered a stable fracture, meaning they will not move out of position.  For this reason they do not require rigid casting.  A removable splint is sufficient to protect the fracture and keep the child comfortable.  These fractures very rarely have any complications if treated with an appropriate splint.

Our hand therapists can fabricate a custom-made light-weight splint which is completely washable.  They are removable for bathing but should be worn at all other times.  The child can use their affected hand to play a musical instrument, write or use a computer as best they can with the splint on.  The splint is generally required for 4 weeks.

Buckle Fracture Return to Sports

Following buckle fracture, children can return to sports - 6-8 weeks post injury.

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