How to Care for Your Child with Buckle Fracture

This leaflet will provide you with information about buckle fracture causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and home care advice.

pdf icon Download this Guide


What is Buckle fracture?

A buckle fracture is common in children. When a fall or other injury cause pressure on the bone, it makes the outside layer of bone bulge out and called buckle fracture.

How is buckle fracture diagnosed?

The doctor will ask you few questions about your child’s health and examine your child. Your doctor will request an x-ray for your child injured limb.

How is buckle fracture treated?

  • Your child will wear a splint or cast to support the fracture.
  • Cast will be applied if your doctor recommends that the cast is appropriate in your child’s case.
  • The doctor may decide to bring you for a follow-up appointment if required, although follow-up appointments are usually not needed.
  • Healing time varies, but kids with a buckle fracture usually need a splint or a cast for 3–4 weeks.
  • You can safely remove the splint at home after three weeks.
  • If your child has pain, you can give medicine for pain such as Paracetamol (any brand) or Ibuprofen (any brand)
    • Follow the instruction on the medicine package for the correct dose for your child
    • Do not give your child Aspirin as this can cause serious complications
  • Apply ice in a plastic bag wrapped in a towel outside of the splint for 20 minutes every 3 hours for up to 2 days. Do not put ice directly on the splint or skin.

Home care advice

Daily splint care:

  • Remove splint for washing and bathing. It is used to add comfort to your child and will not speed the fracture healing
  • Remind your child to wiggle the fingers to keep blood circulating normally.
  • Check the area around the splint every day. Ensure the skin is not scratched and the fingers are not pale, blue, numb, or tingling.
  • Make sure your child does not pick at the lining of the splint or scratch under the splint.
  • Do not put anything in the splint. Make sure your child does not put toys, food, or other objects into it.
  • Keep dirt, sand, lotion, and powder away from the splint.
  • If given a sling, your child should use it when up and walking around. Do not let your child wear the sling while sleeping.

Daily cast care:

  • Keep the cast dry
  • Avoid swimming
  • Give sponge baths to children younger than five years old.
  • Older children should take baths instead of showers.
  • Put a plastic covering over the cast when your child bathes. Put the arm and splint on something to keep them entirely out of the water.
  • If the cast is accidentally splashed, gently blow air onto it from a hairdryer on the cool setting.
  • If there is Itching, tap lightly on the splint or use a hairdryer on the cool setting to blow air in and around the edges.

When should I seek medical advice?

  • If there is swelling. If the fingers look puffy and the swelling doesn’t get better after raising the arm above the heart level for 1 hour.
  • If your child has pain despite following the above advice and keep waking him up at night
  • If your child develops a fever
  • If the splint/cast is too tight or too loose
  • If the splint/cast becomes damaged, wet or smelly
  • If your child’s hand become thingy numb, cold, blue or pale

Go to the emergency department if you have any concerns regarding your child’s health