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Greenstick Fracture Definition


Updated May 29, 2014

greenstick fracture

Children with a greenstick fracture are often treated with a cast.

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Definition: Because a child's bones are much more flexible than adult bone, an incomplete, or 'greenstick,' fracture may occur. A "greenstick fracture" means that one side of the fracture has broken and one side is bent; therefore it is classified as an incomplete break.

The name for a greenstick fracture comes from the analogy of breaking a young, fresh tree branch. The broken branch snaps on one side (the outer side of the bend), while the inner side is bent, and still in continuity. Sometimes, the greenstick fracture must be bent back into the proper position (called a "fracture reduction") and then treated in a cast for about 4-6 weeks.

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