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What is a Torus Fracture?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Feb 06, 2024
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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, this 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 of these 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: although a torus fracture isn’t any fun, it is frankly not serious when people get appropriate medical treatment.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By Glasis — On Feb 14, 2014

There are fossil records that show greenstick break fractures in the bones of the ancient predator dinosaur the Allosaurus.

This dinosaur lived 150 million years ago in the late Jurassic Period. It walked on two very strong legs and had a head full of very sharp teeth. It stood as high as thirty nine feet tall and had a large tail to maintain balance. At this size it would have been able to feed on other predators as well as the herbivore dinosaurs.

Allosauruas was the top predator but had two small arms with three fingers that almost look out of place on this giant fierce creature. It is estimated these creatures may have weighed up to 3, 300 pounds and a fall on one of their small arms may have caused accidental injuries.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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