How are greenstick fractures treated?

In most cases, greenstick fractures are treated by immobilizing the bone (keeping it from moving) with a cast or a splint. Most casts remain in place for 4-6 weeks. For pain, the doctor may prescribe acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID), such as ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®) or naproxen (Aleve®).

Some patients need surgery for more serious greenstick fractures. Surgery may be done to realign the bone. The doctor may insert a slender rod or a metal plate with screws into the bone surrounding the fracture to maintain alignment while the bone is healing. The metal plates may be permanent, or your surgeon may remove them after you heal.

What complications are associated with greenstick fractures?

Complications from greenstick fractures are rare, but can include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve or vascular (blood vessel) injury
  • Malunion (bone deformity that lasts after treatment is complete)

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