How Do Doctors Treat a Buckle Fracture?

Putting a cast on the wrist is the most common treatment for a buckle fracture, though it is now being challenged by doctors.
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  • Written By: Marty Paule
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 20 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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While the most common treatment of a buckle fracture, also known as a torus fracture, involves placing a cast on the the injured bone, some doctors feel that minor wrist fractures of this type can be effectively treated with splints. As children are among the most common victims of buckle fractures, critics of the splint alternative point out that children can easily remove a splint, thereby delaying recovery. Some orthopedists feel that a cast also helps reduce pain more quickly than a splint.

Treatment of a buckle fracture begins by dealing with the patient's pain using analgesics, sedatives, or other medications. Diagnosis usually entails an x-ray of the injured area which should reveal an incomplete fracture where one side of the bone has become compressed or "buckled." A buckle fracture should not be confused with a greenstick fracture, where one side of the bone has completely broken while the other side has become bent. This condition is most commonly seen in children whose bones are more flexible.

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A soft cast is usually chosen in treating a buckle fracture and remains in place for three weeks or more depending on how quickly the bone heals. During summer months, a waterproof cast may be employed, allowing the patient to shower, bathe, or swim. The doctor will often prescribe pain medication to be taken on an as-needed basis. Follow-up x-rays may be ordered by the doctor to monitor the progress of the healing bone. Although uncommon in children, physical therapy may be ordered in the latter stages of recovery.

Before discharge, the patient is usually counseled to rest the injury as much as possible, and ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or acetaminophen with codeine elixir are often prescribed to manage pain. The patient is advised to contact the doctor if he or she experiences numbness; cold, pale or blue extremities; or tingling. Toes and fingers should remain pink and be warm to the touch. If these symptoms arise, the patient is advised to raise the injured part above the level of the heart using a pillow or bolster. Should the symptoms continue after a half-an-hour of elevation, the patient is usually asked to come to the doctor's office for further evaluation.

Other advice given to buckle-fracture patients includes keeping the cast dry unless it is waterproof, avoiding insertion of objects under the cast, and avoiding walking on an injured leg until approved by the doctor. Doctors often recommend using a hair dryer placed on a cool setting to help deal with itching. Upon removal of the cast, the patient might experience joint pain for which exercise or physical therapy is usually recommended.

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Discuss this Article

Edumundo
Post 2

A metal knitting needle is great to scratch with, there are different types of knitting needles, so make sure you get one that is smooth, metal and cannot break the skin. Another thing is using a hair dryer on a cool setting and blowing it down the cast. This will cool the skin, dry it out and reduce the histamine, which is what causes itching in the skin. Of course, the last thing is to take benedryl (diphenhydramine). Benedryl seems to work the best, but any antihistamine will do. Remember that antihistamines will make you tired, so be careful if you need to drive. Knocking gently on the cast helps a little too!

There are also a few things you should not do! Don't try to use any powder or topical creams! Don't use anything that is not completely smooth to get down the cast. Don't try to bend or twist the cast to get to the itch.

Remember that most of the time the best way to get rid of an itch is just to ignore it or to maybe give it a short scratch or tap. Continuing to scratch and scratch just increases the inflammation and the histamine it produces.

Greatedia
Post 1

Does anybody know any other ways to reduce itching when in a cast? I have a tibula buckle fracture.

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