What is a torus fracture?
This is a bone deformity that only occurs in children in which a bone buckles and bends but does not fracture completely. It breaks on one side, buckles outward on the other side, and does not completely break. The reason that it occurs only in children is that their bones are softer than an adult’s bones. This type of fracture commonly occurs in the ulna, which is a bone in your lower arm, or your radius, which is one of the large bones in your forearm. It is also known as a buckle fracture. The word torus is derived from the Latin word tori, which means protrusion.
Symptoms of a Torus Fracture
- The wrist is swollen and painful
- Inflammation and swelling that can cause reduced movement and stiffness of the wrist joint
- In babies and toddlers they may cry and be inconsolable
- In older children they may be very protective about the part that is fractured
Many of these fractures occur when a child falls and stretches out their hand during the fall to catch themselves but the impact is too great. This can happen if a child falls off their bicycle, roller skating, using a skateboard, or falling off furniture, bed, or playground equipment.
If the physician feels there may be a torus fracture, they will order x-rays to be taken to see if there are any signs of buckling. When doing the x-rays they will take x-rays of the elbow and wrist to rule out any dislocations. If it does not show a torus fracture on the first set of x-rays but there still seems to be a problem they will normally do a second set of x-rays two weeks after the first set.
This type of fracture is normally treated by casting the fracture for three to four weeks in a short arm cast to help prevent further injury. The main reason for casting and immobilizing the fracture is to help with the discomfort and pain. This type of fracture is the one that is quickest to heal so that is why it usually only takes three to four weeks of wearing a cast to heal a torus fracture. Some physicians will put a splint on the fracture instead of a cast if the fracture is a minor wrist fracture. Most physicians prefer to cast the fracture because the child cannot take it off as easy as they can a splint. If they remove the splint, it will delay their recovery. To make sure that the bone has healed properly there will be a second set of x-rays done before they remove the immobilization device.
If the child is in pain, the physician will have them to take over-the-counter pain medication. They should also keep the arm elevated when sitting down. For the first few days after applying a cast the physician may have the child wear a sling to give the arm some support.