A distal radius fracture, also known as wrist fracture, is a break of the part of the radius bone which is close to the wrist. Symptoms include pain, bruising, and swelling of rapid onset. The wrist may be deformed. The ulna bone may also be broken.
In younger people these fractures typically occur during sports or a motor vehicle collision. In older people the most common cause is falling on an outstretched hand. Specific types include Colles, Smith, Barton, and Hutchinson fractures. The diagnosis is generally suspected based on symptoms and confirmed with X-rays.
Treatment is with casting for six weeks or surgery. Surgery is generally indicated if the joint surface is broken and does not line up, the radius is overly short, or the joint surface of the radius is tilted more than 10% backwards. Among those who are casted repeated X-rays are recommended within three weeks to verify that a good position is maintained.
Distal radius fractures are common. They represent between 25 and 50% of broken bones. They occur most commonly in young males and older females. A year or two may be required for healing to occur.