Wrist Fractures
(Distal Radius Fracture, Colles Fracture, Smith’s Fracture)

One of the most common orthopedic injuries is the wrist fracture, or broken wrist. More commonly referred to as a Distal Radius Fracture, this injury occurs to people of all ages. Although there are different types of wrist fractures, most fractures are similar in that they usually occur as a person extends their arm and hand in an attempt to brace themselves against an impact. Whether it is a result of an auto accident or a fall, this extension of the arm forces the wrist to take the brunt of the impact. In fact, the term “Fall On Outstretched Hand” (FOOSH) has become a common designation for these types of wrist injuries.

The long forearm bones called the radius and ulna meet the smaller bones of the hand at the area referred to as the wrist. In most cases, the wrist fracture occurs as the most distal end of the longer radius bone (the end toward the hand) is broken during the impact. In most cases, the injury is either categorized as being a Colles Fracture or a Smith’s Fracture.


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Colles Fracture: A Colles Fracture is commonly caused by a fall on the palm of the hand, subsequently breaking the distal end of the radius bone. In some cases both the radius and ulna may be fractured; in the most severe cases the wrist must be repaired surgically to ensure proper realignment of the wrist structures. Colles Fractures usually require immediate casting or wrist immobilization to allow proper healing. Therapy is used following the surgery or after prolonged casting to help regain range of motion, strength, and maximum function.


Click to enlarge image

Click to enlarge image



Smith’s Fracture: A Smith’s Fracture is usually caused by a fall in which the back of the hand makes contact first and then fractures the radius. Similar to the Colles Fracture immediate immobilization or surgery is required to ensure proper healing and bone structure alignment. Therapy is used following the surgery or after prolonged casting to help regain range of motion, strength, and maximum function



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MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. You should always with your physician for the diagnosis and treatment of any injury or condition. The content on this web site is general in nature and not complete, and it should never be used for diagnostic or treatment purposes.

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