What Are Distal Radius Malunions?

A malunion is a bone that has healed, but in a non-anatomic position. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness
  • Dysfunction
  • Deformity

How Are Distal Radius Malunions Diagnosed?

Much Like acute fractures, malunions are diagnosed initially with a history detailing the initial injury and thorough physical exam.  X-rays are routinely taken, and at times advanced imagining with CT scan or MRI is needed.

How Are Distal Radius Malunions Treated?

Treatment of distal radius malunions depends on several factors.  These include amount of displacement, location of fracture, severity of pain, age, and activity level as well as physical demands of the patient.

In instances where there is minimal functional limitations or in low demand individuals, a malunited fracture can be tolerated quite well.

In cases of marked deformity, dysfunction, or significant pain, surgical fixation may be needed to realign the bone.  With the bone healed, the bone may have to be “re-broken” in a controlled manner called an osteotomy.  Plates and screws, and often time bone grafting, is needed to fix the bone.

After surgery, the wrist is immobilized for 1-2 weeks.  Following this, protected mobilization and bracing is used until the bone is healed.