Colles' Fracture

(Fracture, Distal Radius; Distal Radius Fracture; Transverse Wrist Fracture; Dinner-Fork Deformity of the Wrist)

Definition

A Colle's fracture is a break in the distal part of the radius bone. The radius is one of the bones of the forearm. The distal end of the bone is considered part of the wrist. Distal radius fractures are categorized by type:
  • Open fracture—a broken bone that breaks through the skin
  • Comminuted fracture—a bone that breaks into more than two pieces
  • Intra-articular fracture—a broken bone within a joint
  • Extra-articular fracture—a broken bone that does not involve the joint
Intra-articular Colle's Fracture
Colle's Fracture
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
This sheet focuses on fracture of the distal radius. Fractures of other wrist bones can be found on a separate sheet.

Causes

A distal radius fracture can be caused by:
  • A fall on an outstretched hand
  • A direct blow to the wrist

Risk Factors

Factors that can increase your risk of breaking your radius bone include:
  • Severe trauma:
    • Car accidents
    • Fall from a height
    • Violence
    • Falling off a bike
    • Skiing fall
  • Osteoporosis
  • Poor nutrition
  • Conditions that increase the risk of falling include:
    • Snow
    • Ice
    • Loss of agility or muscle strength
    • Certain sports
  • Increased age
  • Postmenopause
  • Decreased muscle mass

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