Distal Radius Fracture broken wrist Colles’ fracture
The wrist joint is formed where the forearm bones, the radius and ulna, come together and meet the small carpal bones of the wrist.  When the radius is broken near the wrist joint, it is known as a distal radius fracture.
Wrist fractures usually occur as the result of a fall on an outstretched arm.  While any of the bones in the wrist may break, the distal radius is the most common wrist fracture.
Wrist fractures are diagnosed based on a history, physical exam, and x-rays.  Patients usually report a fall or a blow to the wrist.  They may or may not feel or hear a pop.  It is painful to move the wrist.
Upon physical exam, the wrist is usually bruised and swollen.  The broken bone will, of course, be tender to push on.  More severe wrist fractures may result in an obvious deformity.  When this is the case, it is important to ensure that nerves and blood vessels are not being pushed on by the broken bones.
X-rays are important not only to confirm that the wrist is broken, but to evaluate the fracture.  Fractures may be non-displaced (just a crack) or displaced.  They may involve the cartilage in the joint (intra-articular).  The broken fragment may be bent backward (Colles’ fracture) or forward (Smith’s fracture).
Non-displaced fractures of the wrist can be treated without surgery.  The wrist is placed into a cast for about 6 weeks.  Strenuous activity is not permitted until the wrist has begun to heal.  Follow-up x-rays are obtained to evaluate healing.  When the wrist has healed enough, the cast is removed to allow wrist range-of-motion.  If the wrist is especially stiff, rehabilitation may be more effective under the supervision of a physical therapist.
If the wrist fracture is displaced, it should be reduced (pushed back into place or “set”) as soon as possible.  If the fracture is stable (the broken fragments stay well aligned without surgery) a cast or splint may be sufficient.  Some fractures, especially those that involve the joint or are severely comminuted (broken in pieces) may require surgical hardware such as plates, screws, pins, or an external fixator to hold them in place.
ankle x-ray anterior-posterior
wrist x-ray lateral
wrist x-ray anterior-posterior
distal radius fracture
angulated distal radius fracture
after reducing and splinting
distal radius fracture
Closed Reduction of a Distal Radius Fracture
percutaneous pin fixation
open reduction- internal fixation (ORIF)
external fixator