Distal radial fracture (summary)
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This is a basic article for medical students and other non-radiologists
Distal radial fractures are a relatively common group of injuries that usually occur following a fall. The commonest of these fractures is a transverse extra-articular fracture and where there is associated dorsal angulation, this is termed a Colles fracture.
- normal radius
- bimodal age and sex distribution
- younger males in high energy mechanisms
- older females after simple falls
- fall onto an outstretched hand with pain and deformity
- after FOOSH force transmitted through the wrist
- a direct blow to the wrist may also result in a fracture
- wrist series (AP and lateral)
- often treatment is conservative with immobilization in a cast
- if there is deformity and fracture angulation reduction is required
- in some cases, internal fixation is needed
The commonest fracture of the distal radius is a transverse extra-articular fracture which is usually seen as a transverse lucency across the distal radius in the region of the metaphysis.
If there is impaction, the fracture may be seen as a sclerotic line.
Transverse fractures may be angulated - dorsal angulation is commonest (a Colles fracture). There may be fracture extension into the joint which is important to pick up.