A randomized trial of ‘soft cast’ for distal radius buckle fractures in children

Published online: Oct 30 2007

Khalid Sarwar Khan, Aidan Grufferty, Olga Gallagher, David P. Moore, Esmond Fogarty, Frank Dowling

From Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Dublin, Ireland


A buckle fracture is a stable fracture where there is a dorsal cortex compression of the distal radius. A total of 117 children with buckle fracture treated at our institution were randomised prospectively into two treatment groups : soft cast or rigid cast. The rigid cast group attended clinic after three weeks for removal of the cast. In the soft cast group, the cast was removed by parents at home after three weeks. Telephone follow-up was carried out after 4 to 5 weeks post fracture. Both groups had full recovery as compared to the uninjured side and parents were satisfied with the treatment. Only one patient in the soft cast group had a problem as compared to 5 in the rigid cast group (p = 0.035, using chi square test). When given a choice, parents of children in both groups opted for future treatment with a soft cast (p < 0.01 using chi square test).

Our study showed that buckle fractures of the distal radius can safely be treated with a soft cast without the need for more than one fracture clinic appointment.