Greenstick Fracture in Children - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Greenstick Fracture in Children

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Mahesh Patil (Paediatrician)
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We love to see our children play and have fun but sometimes this delightful sight may turn into a nightmare when your child gets hurt. Though normal bruises and other minor injuries can be effectively managed at home, however, if your child fractures his bone, he may require immediate medical attention. Greenstick fracture is very common in children, and if you wish you know more about it, then you are in the right place. Here, we shall discuss everything that you need to know about greenstick fracture in children and more.

What Is a Greenstick Fracture?

Though the name may appear as odd, greenstick fracture or green stick injury is very common in young children. In green bone fracture, the bone usually bends and develops a crack in it, but the bone does not break into two pieces. This is an exact same phenomenon that occurs when you try and break a green stick, and that is how this fracture got its name. The greenline fracture is also called a partial fracture.

Who Is at Risk of a Greenstick Fracture

Greenstick fracture is very common in children under the age of 10. These age group children have very soft and fragile bones, and the calcium present in them is more. This makes their bones more prone to such kind of fractures.

Types of Greenstick Fractures

Following are the types of greenstick fractures:

  • Greenstick Fracture of Clavicle: When a child is exposed to a direct blow to his upper chest and shoulder or to his outstretched hand, he may suffer from greenstick fracture of the clavicle. The clavicle bones get stronger at around 20 years of age, which means even teenagers may get such fractures.
  • Greenstick Fracture of Wrist: This fracture occurs when a child falls from a height with hands outstretched to avoid injury and lands on his palm or gets a direct blow to his palm. The lower third or the middle third of radius or the bones of forearm break in a greenstick fracture of the wrist.
  • Greenstick Fracture of Tibia: In a greenstick fracture of the tibia, the middle third or the lower third of tibia shaft gets broken. This may happen when a child gets a direct blow to his leg or lands from a height on his leg.


Just the way the other kinds of fractures occur so does the greenstick fracture. A child may feel an intense blow or twist to his bones. It is seen that younger children love to play outdoors and like doing various forms of physical activities, which makes them more prone to such injuries. However, the most common cause of this kind of fracture is falling from a height, which usually happens due to engaging in a lot of jumping games.

Symptoms of Greenstick Fracture

Here are some of the symptoms that may help you identify greenstick fracture:

  • Pain
  • Redness, swelling or an appearance of a bruise at the site of the fracture.
  • Deformity of limbs may happen, in severe cases.
  • Decreased joint or limb movements to prevent any pain.
  • Such fractures are more common in upper limbs than lower limbs.

However, sometimes your kid may find it difficult to explain the injury or his symptoms; it is important that you observe your kid for any of the above-mentioned symptoms and seek immediate medical help.

A girl with fracture at doctor's

How Is the Diagnosis Done?

If your kid is experiencing continuous pain in his limbs, which does not subside after 2-3 days or your kid had reduced use of a particular limb or is unable to put pressure on his joints or bend it, you should seek a doctor immediately. Your doctor may conduct tests to know if he has got a fracture. The doctor will:

  • Examine physical symptoms, such as swelling, tenderness or deformity of the limbs.
  • Check for the nerve damage.
  • May ask your kid to move his fingers or other affected limbs to check for the damage.
  • After examining all the physical symptoms and conducting physical tests, your doctor will ask you to go in for greenstick fracture radiology or an x-ray.

How Is a Greenstick Fracture Treated?

A fracture involves a bend or twist in the bones that your doctor may straighten manually called as closed reduction. Because this process is so painful, the doctor may administer general anaesthesia to your child. Once the bone is in place, the doctor will put a cast to keep the broken bone in place and realign the bone to normal shape. Sometimes a splint may be used as the breakage is partial, which can be removed after the healing takes place.

What Is the Healing Time of a Greenstick Fracture?

The average time for any greenstick fracture to heal completely may take four to six weeks. However, it also depends on the severity of the fracture, and thus it may take anywhere from two to eight weeks for such kind of fractures to heal.

What Lifestyle Changes Need to Be Adopted

A child who suffers from greenstick fracture may find it difficult to attend school for three to four days. Once the pain subsides, he may be allowed to attend school. However, if the fracture is present in his dominant hand, he will require assistance for doing common everyday activities.

How Can You Manage a Greenstick Fracture in Your Child?

A child is generally scared of getting injured, and a fracture can be devastating for him. It is important that you provide the utmost emotional and physical support to your child at this stage and help him cope with this situation. Your child may also refuse to wear splint or cast, as he may feel weird about wearing something of that sort. Give a valid explanation and tell your kid how important it is for his speedy recovery. Take your child for regular check-ups to keep a tab on his recovery.

How to Prevent a Greenstick Fracture

As discussed above, greenstick fracture in a child is very common. However, there are a few things that you can do as a parent to prevent your child from greenstick fracture:

  • Explain the importance of safety to your kid and tell him how violent ways may lead to serious injuries.
  • Tell your kid to play on a soft surface. Playing on a soft surface may provide protection against the severe impact on bones.
  • If your kid is taking part in any strenuous sport or activity, make sure he is wearing appropriate safety equipment or gear.
  • Watch your little child when he is playing outdoors. Keeping an eye on your kids helps in protecting your child from various kinds of injuries and mishaps.

However, no matter how vigilant you are as a parent, sometimes the inevitable happens, and your kid may fall and succumb to serious injuries such as fractures. It is recommended that you pay heed to your kid’s symptoms and act promptly under such situations and seek medical help. Also, remember the bones of your child are really pliant and they get fixed too without many issues. Regular supplementation of Calcium, magnesium and vitamin C and D are equally important for good bone health.

Also Read: Pica in Kids

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