The standard definition of the torus or buckle fracture is that the bone breaks on one side, and buckles outward on the other without fully breaking; thus the fracture is incomplete. This is often compared to a greenstick fracture, which also has a bend on one side and a break on the other. However, the greenstick fracture doesn’t bow out. Yet the area of breakage may sometimes look misaligned or incorrect and might need reduction (movements to realign the break area).
Typically, the torus fracture is only present in childhood when bones are growing and still relatively soft, and most fractures will affect the radius: one of the bones in the forearm. A torus fracture of the ulna (another lower arm bone) is also seen quite often. There are certainly medical reports of these forms of fractures occurring in other parts of the body, but most torus fractures present in the lower arms.
Given the energy of children, it’s quite easy for them to get a torus fracture. Many of them occur when a child stretches out a hand during a fall, and the impact is too great. As every parent knows, falls occur frequently, off of bicycles, while on roller skates, while skateboarding, and sometimes off of beds and furniture. Should the area injured seem painful after a fall, it’s a good idea to take the child to a doctor for diagnosis.
Fortunately, the torus fracture is one of the quickest to heal. It may require casting or immobilizing but it often doesn’t necessitate reduction. Kids may wear a cast or splints for about three weeks or slightly more, and might need another x-ray to make sure the bone has properly healed before any immobilizing device is removed. Treatment time, provided a child is healthy and has normal bone growth, tends to be shorter than the treatment required for a greenstick fracture, which often requires casting for six weeks and may need initial reduction (thought not always).
Moreover, any pain felt upon injury tends to be relieved by immobilization. Most fractures are initially painful and any bone break is scary, but this injury isn’t likely to keep an active child down for very long. Principally, kids with a fracture like this might cite inconvenience of wearing a cast, but duration of using one is often only about three weeks.
Parents want to keep their children safe from injury, but there’s really no way to always prevent the accidental fracture. A consequence of being a child is having high energy and soft bones, which sets the stage for a torus fracture occurring. While parents can discourage reckless activities, they can’t prevent every accident unless they prevent every possible childhood activity, and even then, a fall out of bed in the middle of the night might cause one of these fractures. Most doctors advise parents who are concerned about this issue to work on child safety in its most practical forms. For instance, people can make kids wear bike helmets, and have kids buckle up in the car, and these preventatives along with many other child safety tips can help prevent some of the more serious health risks to children: though a torus fracture isn’t any fun, it is frankly not serious when people get appropriate medical treatment.