Frykman classification of distal radial fractures

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 19 May 2019

The Frykman classification of distal radial fractures is based on the AP appearance and encompasses the eponymous entities of Colles fracture, Smith fracture, Barton fracture, chauffeur fracture. It assesses the pattern of fractures, involvement of the radioulnar joint and presence of a distal ulnar fracture


Although it appears complicated, it is actually only a four-type classification (odd-numbered types) with each type having a subtype which includes ulnar styloid fracture (these are the even-numbered types):

  • type I: transverse metaphyseal fracture
  • type II: type I + ulnar styloid fracture
  • type III: fracture involves the radiocarpal joint
  • type IV: type III + ulnar styloid fracture
  • type V: transverse fracture involves distal radioulnar joint
  • type VI: type V + ulnar styloid fracture
  • type VII: comminuted fracture with the involvement of both the radiocarpal and radioulnar joints
  • type VIII: type VII + ulnar styloid fracture

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: Frykman type IV
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