greenstick fracture

Last reviewed 01/2018

A greenstick fracture is a condition peculiar to children whose bones are less fragile than those of adults. The cortex on one side of the bone is compressed and buckled while the other remains intact. With increasing force, the side under tension may fracture.

The term originates from the similarity in behaviour of the fracture to that of bending a green stick.

Often, greenstick fractures may be left alone since children remodel bones well. Occasionally, reduction may be necessary in which case it is best to either break the bone completely, or to manage in a cast with 3 point pressure - above, below and opposite the site of damage.