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Paediatric distal radius fracture

Patient information A-Z

What is a distal radius fracture?

Your child has sustained a ‘greenstick’ fracture to their wrist. It is a most common fracture in young children from falling onto an outstretched hand. Greenstick fractures are so called as they resemble a new twig which only breaks on one side when they are bent.

patient information

Greenstick fractures can be treated with either a splint or a synthetic soft cast, which can be removed at home on a specified date by you or by nurses in the clinic if you are unsure.

Non-urgent advice: You should:

  • give your child simple, over the counter pain relief as needed in the early stages to help control the pain.
  • encourage your child to keep moving their fingers to help prevent stiffness.

Non-urgent advice: Your child should not:

  • take part in sports or rough and tumble play whilst wearing the splint or soft cast and for ____ weeks after removal.
  • get the soft cast wet (if this has been applied).

Soft casts can be removed at home by unwrapping the casting material. This usually requires two people, one person to hold the limb still, whilst the other person unpicks the end of the bandage and unwraps the cast down to the gauze. We advise giving your child pain relief prior to removal of the cast as their arm and wrist will be stiff once it is removed.

Once the cast material has been removed, cut the gauze with scissors and remove.

Children who have been discharged with a removable splint should only remove this for bathing under supervision of their parents / carers.

The date for the removal of your child’s soft cast / splint is: ____________

Please remember:

Please contact your GP if your child’s condition is not improving, or if their pain relief is not adequate.

It is important that your child can always wiggle their fingers whilst in the cast and that they have full normal feeling in their fingers. If at any time they feel different you should try elevating the affected arm to reduce any swelling and help with altered feeling in the fingers. If this does not help within 1 hour, return with them to A&E to have the plaster / arm checked.

If you child’s condition is worsening please contact the multi professional fracture clinic on 01223 348299 or 01223 257095.

For more information please visit: Fracture information website

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Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151