Greenstick Fracture Vs Buckle Fracture : Differences Worth Knowing

Fracture in medical terminology is the name given to a broken bone in any area of the body. Fracture is quite common among teenagers and children even though older adults also can suffer from a fracture. Scientifically a fracture can be described as a force exerted on a bone, which is higher than the strength of the bone which causes it to break. There are basically two types of fractures namely displaced fracture and nondisplaced fracture. In a displaced fracture, the bone tends to break into pieces and moves away from its alignment and protrudes through the skin surface while in nondisplaced fractures the bones do not go out of their alignment and there is usually a crack in the bone.

Among the nondisplaced fracture, the two most common types of fractures are the Greenstick and the Buckle fracture. These types of fractures occur in children. While there are many similarities between a Greenstick and a Buckle fracture, there are also some subtle differences. This article gives a brief insight into the differences between Greenstick and Buckle fractures.

Greenstick Fracture Vs Buckle Fracture : Differences Based On Definition:

Greenstick Fracture is a type of nondisplaced fracture seen in children under the age of 10. In this type of fracture, there is basically no complete break of the bone, but the bone tends to bend a little bit and cracks. The reason why the bone does not break is because the bones of children are still in a developing stage and are extremely soft and flexible.

Buckle Fracture on the other hand is also a variant of a nondisplaced type of fracture seen in children. In this type of fracture, the bone tends to buckle upon itself on side while the other side of the bone remains intact and there is no damage done to that part of the bone.

Greenstick Fracture Vs Buckle Fracture : Differences Based On Causes

Greenstick fracture may be caused by a fall generally off of a swing or while running in the playground and falling such that the bone twists in an awkward position and bends.

Buckle Fracture on the other hand is basically caused due to a hard fall such as on a concrete or hard surface or while playing contact sports like football or rugby. This causes the bone to bend in such a way that one side of the bone buckles on itself while other side of the bone remains intact.

Greenstick Fracture Vs Buckle Fracture : Differences Based On Symptoms

The presenting symptoms of a Greenstick and a Buckle fracture are quite similar with the child experiencing pain at the injured site along with swelling of the area; however, in Buckle Fracture the swelling can be intense to such an extent that a visible deformity can be observed at the injury site.

Greenstick Fracture Vs Buckle Fracture : Differences Based On Radiologic Studies

When radiologic studies in the form of x-rays are conducted, then in the case of Greenstick fracture, the studies will show compression on both sides of the bony cortex, while in a Buckle fracture there will be compression only on one side of the bony cortex. This can be easily visualized on x-ray studies and this is how physicians differentiate between a Greenstick and a buckle Fracture.

Greenstick Fracture Vs Buckle Fracture : Differences Based On Treatment and Recovery

Once a diagnosis of Greenstick or a Buckle fracture is made based on radiologic studies, then the treatment modalities come into question. While Greenstick fractures require casting for a period of about 4 weeks to allow the cracked bone to heal, in a Buckle fracture a splint is enough for immobilization purposes to allow the fracture to heal. In a Greenstick fracture, the recovery time is somewhere around 4 to 6 weeks whereas in a Buckle Fracture the recovery time is around 3 to 4 weeks. The reason behind casting for Greenstick fracture is to prevent the growth of bone in a bent position and also to protect the bone from any reinjury while for Buckle fracture comfort is the only criteria as there is no actual crack or break of bones. The following figure gives a clear impression of the difference between a Greenstick and a Buckle Fracture.

Greenstick Fracture

Buckle Fracture

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