Colles Fracture

What are Colles Fractures

The radius and ulna, or forearm bones, are located just above your wrist. When a break occurs in one or both of these bones, it is called a Colles fracture. Other terms used for this condition are buckle or, depending on which bone is broken, distal radius fracture or distal ulna fracture.

What causes Colles Fractures?

Colles fractures are very common, with most occurrences caused by attempting to break a fall forward with an outstretched hand. The act of stretching out the hands and arms to break the fall is usually intended to lessen the impact, but it actually puts great and opposing forces on the bones of the wrist. Forced suddenly to bear not only the impact from the ground but also the weight of the body, the bones in the forearm above the wrist can break. This condition can also be caused by any strong impact, like from a car or sports accident.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of a Colles fracture usually include swelling and pain. You may also experience weakness when attempting to lift or hold objects. Some deformity in the wrist area may be present due to the break. If your doctor suspects you have a Colles fracture, an X-Ray will be used to determine the severity of the injury and the proper method of treatment to take.

How are Colles Fractures treated?

Recovery from a Colles fracture usually takes six months to a year. Immobilization or a lightweight cast will be used to keep the wrist in place during the healing process. If the fracture is very severe and many bone fragments are present, surgery may be necessary to install pins or screws to keep the bones in place during the healing process.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

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