Colles’ fracture is a fracture of the distal radius and ulna (the bones of the forearm), which occurs after a fall onto an outstretched hand. It is most common in the older population but can also occur in young sports people. In the younger person, because the force required to fracture such strong bones is great, young athletes often also suffer intra-articular (inside the joint) fracture with this injury.
Confirmation and Treatment
Fracture is confirmed with X-ray and the treatment involves anatomical reduction and immobilisation for 6 weeks in a cast that covers the distal half of the forearm, the wrist and the hand, leaving the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints, or the knuckles, free. If the reduction is not accurate or if there is imperfect alignment of joint surfaces or inadequate restoration in length, internal fixation (surgery) is required. X-rays are usually taken every 2 weeks to ensure that the position in the cast is maintained.