Greenstick fracture in young and soft bones
A greenstick fracture is a fracture in a young, soft bone in which the bone bends and breaks. Greenstick fractures occur most often during infancy and childhood when bones are soft. The name is by analogy with green (i.e., fresh) wood which similarly breaks on the outside when bent. A greenstick fracture occurs when a bone bends and cracks, instead of breaking completely into separate pieces. The fracture looks similar to what happens when you try to break a small, "green" branch on a tree.
Most greenstick fractures occur in children younger than 10 years of age. This type of broken bone most commonly occurs in children because their bones are softer and more flexible than are the bones of adults.
Even mild greenstick fractures are usually immobilized in a cast. In addition to holding the cracked pieces of the bone together so they can heal, a cast can help prevent the bone from breaking all the way through if the child falls on it again.
Some clinical features of a greenstick fracture are similar to those of a standard long bone fracture - greenstick fractures normally cause pain at the injured area. As these fractures are specifically a pediatric problem, an older child will be protective of the fractured part and babies may cry inconsolably. As per a standard fracture, the area may be swollen and either red or bruised. Greenstick fractures are stable fractures as a part of the bone remains intact and unbroken so this type of fracture normally causes a bend to the injured part, rather than a distinct deformity, which is problematic. Symptoms include pain in the area and can start from overuse in that specific bone. This can be a very gradual chronic pain or pain from a specific injury.
Symptoms: Signs and symptoms will vary, depending on the severity of the greenstick fracture. Mild fractures might be mistaken for sprains or bruises. More-severe greenstick fractures may cause an obvious deformity, accompanied by significant pain and swelling.
Causes: Childhood fractures most commonly occur with a fall. Arm fractures are more common than leg fractures, since the common reaction is to throw out your arms to catch yourself when you fall.
Risk factors: The risk of greenstick fractures is higher in young children because their bones are softer and more flexible than adult bones. In a greenstick fracture, the bone bends and cracks instead of breaking into separate pieces. Most greenstick fractures occur in children under age 10.
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