Buckle (wrist) fracture – Advice Sheet

  • Reference Number: HEY1069/2019
  • Departments: Emergency Department, Paediatrics

Introduction

This advice sheet has been produced to give you general information about your child’s condition. If you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team caring for your child.

Your child has a broken wrist. A broken bone may also be referred to as cracked or fractured – these terms mean the same thing. The fracture is a special sort of fracture called a buckle (torus) fracture. This is a minor fracture which occurs in children’s bones. These fractures heal quickly, by themselves.

Why does the arm need to be in a splint?

The splint is not a specific treatment for the broken bone, but is used to reduce pain.

The arm can be in a splint for up to 3 weeks. The splint can be worn at night. Sometimes these fractures settle down more quickly and, if it is not too sore, it is fine for them to start taking the splint off sooner. Start by taking it off for short periods of time, and at night, and go from there.

What can I do to help my child?

  • Arm exercises are very important. Your child should be encouraged to move their elbow, hand and fingers as soon as they can.
  • The wrist splint can be removed from day one to allow the child to move the wrist for a couple of minutes. It should then be put back on.
  • The splint can be removed for washing and dressing
  • Some younger children will not keep their splint on – do not worry. They can use their arm as much as their pain allows and will limit themselves.
  • They should, however, be stopped from rough play.
  • Your child can go to school but should wear the splint as directed above.
  • Your child should not take part in any physical education (PE), sport or rough activities for 6 weeks.

What should I expect?

  • The injury may be painful at first, but the pain should settle within a few days. Painkillers like Paracetamol or Ibuprofen should be given. Please ask the Doctor/Practitioner if you are not sure of the dose.
  • For the first few days, the skin over the fracture site may be bruised and this will settle down on its own over the first week.
  • A lump will develop over the fracture site which will be tender to start with. Later this lump will become hard and painless as new bone starts to form as part of the healing process. This lump may persist for months, but should eventually get smaller (especially in younger children).

Will there be any long term problems

Most patients recover quickly from their accident and experience no long-term problems.

If pain needing pain relief medication persists after a week, you should arrange for the child to be seen in the Minor Injuries Unit or local Emergency Department.

If there is increasing deformity (the wrist looks more bent out of shape) you should arrange for the child to be seen in the Minor Injuries Unit or local Emergency Department.

If the skin appears to be breaking down or you are concerned about it please seek medical attention

Should you require further advice please contact NHS 111 or your doctor

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