Torus Fractures in Children

A torus, or buckle, fracture can occur in children when something applies compressive force to an immature bone. Falls are the most common cause of torus fractures, in sports accidents or while playing on the playground. Because of this, they occur more commonly in the forearm and wrist than the legs. A child may suffer a torus fracture when he or she falls and lands on an outstretched arm. A child’s bones heal more quickly than an adult’s, making it important to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent future problems.

What Does a Torus Fracture Look Like?

Torus fractures are also called buckle fractures because they occur when the topmost layer of a bone becomes compressed, causing the other side to bend away (or buckle) from the growth plate. Torus fractures are stable fractures, meaning the broken pieces of bone are not displaced, or separated out of position. This is a good thing, as it reduces the odds of needing surgery to put the bones back in place prior to casting or splinting. They are most common in children under the age of 10, due to greater bone elasticity.

Fall fractures commonly occur as an ulna or radius fracture in the forearm. The ulna and the radius are the forearm’s two main bones. These bones can buckle and break in a child after a fall directly onto the forearm, onto an outstretched arm, or from a direct blow to the forearm. Torus fractures of the distal radius, or the shorter of the two arm bones, are the most common in children. A child with a torus fracture may feel severe pain, as well as numbness in the forearm and hand. Numbness is a sign of a potential nerve injury.

Diagnosing and Treating Torus Fractures in Children

When a child exhibits symptoms of a torus fracture, the doctor will perform a physical examination of the forearm or other affected area. The doctor will look for severe pain, tenderness, swelling, and deformity of the elbow, forearm, or wrist. An inability to rotate the forearm may also signal a buckle fracture. During the examination, a doctor should also test to see whether the fracture has affected the nerves and blood circulation in the arm.

A doctor will order scans and tests to diagnose a torus fracture. The buckle of the cortex or a subtle deformity may be apparent with a plain radiograph, but it will not show fracture lines. In some cases, diagnosis stems only from the presence of angulation in the forearm. The appearance of a torus fracture can be subtle. Once diagnosed, the most common treatment for a torus fracture is a removable splint. A splint lets a child return to normal functioning faster than a cast. A doctor may prescribe ibuprofen for pain control.

After just two to four weeks of immobilization, a torus fracture should heal enough to discontinue immobilization and begin rehabilitation exercises. During certain activities for the next two weeks, such as sports or playing on the playground, a child may put the splint back on to reduce the risk of further injury. Torus fractures generally do not require surgery, although manual manipulation may be necessary in the presence of severe angulation. In some cases, a doctor might recommend a cast instead of a removable splint.

Common Causes of Torus Fractures in Children

A torus fracture can be very painful for a child, and result in expensive medical bills for treatment and casting. If someone else’s negligence caused your child’s injury, such as a defective piece of playground equipment or a reckless sports coach, speak to an attorney.

You may be eligible to recover for your child’s damages. This includes physical injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering.