Wrist-buckle fracture Factsheet


A wrist-buckle fracture is an injury that happens when there is lots of force applied to the wrist. The force causes a small part of the wrist bones to bulge out instead of breaking.

Wrist-buckle fractures can happen when a child puts their hand out to break their fall. They are common in children because their bones are softer and more flexible than in adults.

 Signs and symptoms

If your child has a wrist-buckle fracture, their wrist may be: 

  • tender
  • slightly swollen
  • painful to move, especially when rotating their arm or flexing their hand. 

Take your child to your local doctor or nearest emergency department if they are showing signs of a wrist-buckle fracture after a fall or other accident where there is force applied to their wrist. 


A wrist-buckle fracture can be difficult to see on an X-ray because there is not usually a break in the bone. 

Your child’s doctor will check the wrist and move it gently to see where the pain is. They will also ask you some questions about how the injury happened.


Wrist buckle fractures will heal on their own over time. Your child may need to wear a wrist splint, which is a removable piece of equipment that helps to stop the wrist from moving around. Splints are usually worn for 3 – 4 weeks, day, and night.

Your child may need a follow-up appointment with their doctor one week after the injury to check the splint is well-fitted and there is no pain. The doctor may recommend some pain medication to make sure your child is comfortable while their wrist heals.

It is normal for the wrist to feel stiff after taking the splint off for showering and bathing. Numbness and tingling can be a sign that the splint is too tight and needs to be loosened.

Remind your child to continue moving the rest of their body while they heal to avoid stiffness. 


Hygiene and wrist splints

Your child will be able to take the splint off to have a shower or bath as long as it does not cause any pain. 

Hand-wash the splint in warm water with mild detergent. Rinse and hang out to air-dry only.

Make sure your child’s wrist splint is always clean and dry. Dirt, sweat and moisture can cause irritation and injury to the skin.

Activity after wrist-buckle fracture

While healing, your child should rest and avoid any activity that utilises the wrist that has been injured, like sports or lifting objects.

Your child should avoid rough play and contact sports, as well as activities like trampolining and skateboarding for 6 weeks after the injury. 

Depending on how bad the injury is, your child may need to see a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist to build strength in their wrist. 

When to see your doctor

See your local doctor as soon as possible If your child continues to have severe pain or starts having numbness and swelling around the fracture.

Last updated Tuesday 23rd April 2024


This factsheet is provided for general information only. It does not constitute health advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat any health condition.

Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for you and/or your child.

The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network does not accept responsibility for inaccuracies or omissions, the interpretation of the information, or for success or appropriateness of any treatment described in the factsheet.

© Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network 2024