What is a Distal Radius Fracture?

The two bones of the forearm are the ulna and radius. The radius is the larger of the two and is most commonly broken. When it is broken on its distal end (near the wrist), the fracture is called a distal radius fracture. The most common cause of distal radius fractures is falling on an outstretched arm.

How Are Distal Radius Fractures Treated?

Before a fracture can be treated, it needs to be properly diagnosed. A physical examination and x-rays are used to diagnose a fracture as:

  1. Extra-articular. Not extending into the wrist joint.
  2. Intra-articular. Extending into the wrist joint.
  3. Bone is breaking through the skin. * Immediate medical attention is required for open fractures
  4. Comminuted. There are multiple pieces of broken bone.

Extra-articular fractures with good bone alignment are treated used non-surgical treatment: a splint and/or cast is used to immobilize the bone while it heals. Intra-articular, open, and comminuted fractures may require surgical intervention. Regardless of the fracture type, the goal of surgery remains the same: restore bone alignment and anatomy by reducing and then fixating the fracture. Because recovery following non-surgical and surgical treatment of distal radius fractures depends on the fracture and medical and social histories of the injured patient, recovery time is something that is best discussed during an appointment.