Colles Fractures

A colles fracture is a break of one or both of the forearm bones (the radius and ulna) that occurs just above the wrist. Although any strong force can cause this type of injury, Colles fracture is most often associated with trying to break a forward fall.

What You Need To Know About a Colles Fracture

What is a Colles Fracture?

Your arm is made up of two parallel bones, known as the ulna and radius. These bones are attached to the carpal bones that make up your wrist. The radius bone is located on the same side of your arm as the relevant thumb.

A Colles fracture occurs when the radius is damaged due to the wrist bending unusually. Its distinctive shape has given it the nickname dinner fork deformity. While many people call this condition a broken wrist, this is incorrect. The Colles fracture actually occurs in the radius bone right before where it meets the carpal bones in the wrist.

A Colles fracture usually occurs after trying to break a fall with an outstretched hand or extended wrist. Sometimes direct trauma can lead to a Colles fracture. If only the ulna is damaged, it is a different condition known as a distal radius fracture.

Getting relief for Colles fracture symptoms starts with a visit to Resurgens Hand & Wrist Center. Schedule an appointment with our Colles fracture treatment experts now!

What Causes a Colles Fracture

There are many causes of a Colles fracture. Typically a Colles fracture is caused by an impact while trying to break a fall with your hand.

Certain conditions may increase the likelihood of developing a Colles fracture, including:

  • Osteoporosis

  • Low muscle mass or weak strength

  • Participation in sports like skateboarding, rollerblading, ice skating, or skiing.

Colles Fracture Symptoms

A Colles fracture can present in many different ways. Most notably, the displaced bone causes a visual deformity where the hand is angled downward. This shape is similar to the curvature of a dinner fork. This is why the Colles fracture is also known as the dinner fork deformity.

Other Colles fracture symptoms include:

  • Pain on the top of the wrist

  • Bruising or swelling of the wrist

  • Inability to pick up objects

How is a Colles Fracture Diagnosed?

Finding relief for Colles fracture symptoms starts with a visit to the experts at Resurgens Hand & Wrist Center. During your visit to our offices, one of our physicians will examine your wrist for signs of injury. The physical examination will involve an inspection of the nerves and blood vessels around the affected area.

Once your physician suspects a Colles fracture, they will arrange for diagnostic screening to determine the extent of your injury. Because no two injuries are the same, the use of X-rays helps your physician plan your ideal Colles fracture treatment.

Colles Fracture Treatment

Colles fracture treatment options range from non-surgical to surgical intervention. Your physician will choose the best option for your condition and lifestyle goals.

Your physician will clear you for normal activity after a few weeks of immobilization.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Your physician may recommend a simple bracing or splint for your injury. Keeping the affected injury immobile will help the Colles fracture heal. Your physician will recommend a device for your healing. Rehabilitation with physical therapy may be necessary.

You can manage the pain of a Colles fracture with RICE therapy (rest, ice, compress, elevate). In addition to RICE therapy you can use over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Be careful with any pain reliever because these can become habit-forming.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery is recommended for unstable fractures. Typically surgery involves placing pins or plates to help realign the bones. The pins and plates are removed once the fracture has stabilized.

At Resurgens Orthopedics, our experts are dedicated to helping you find the best Colles fracture treatment for you. Schedule an appointment with our trusted physicians now!

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