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Colles Fracture

Colles Fracture

Facing Colles Fracture? Read below to find out more on what you can do.

A Colles fracture is a type of fracture that occurs in the distal radius bone of the forearm, typically as a result of a fall onto an outstretched hand. It is named after Abraham Colles, an Irish surgeon who first described this type of fracture in the early 19th century. Colles fractures are relatively common, especially in older individuals with osteoporosis.
Management of a Colles fracture involves both initial treatment and ongoing care. Here is a general overview of the management process:
  1. Initial assessment: A healthcare professional will conduct a thorough examination of the affected wrist to assess the severity of the fracture, identify any associated injuries, and evaluate the overall condition of the patient.
  2. Imaging: X-rays are usually ordered to confirm the diagnosis and determine the specific characteristics of the fracture. X-rays help in assessing the degree of displacement, angulation, and comminution (breakage into multiple pieces) of the fracture.
  3. Closed reduction: If the fracture is displaced or angulated, the doctor may attempt a closed reduction. This procedure involves manipulating the broken bone fragments back into their correct alignment without making an incision. Local or general anesthesia may be used to alleviate pain during this process.
  4. Immobilization: Once the fracture is reduced, the wrist is immobilized to allow for proper healing. This is typically achieved by applying a splint or a cast that extends from the fingers to just below the elbow. The cast is usually kept in place for about 6 weeks, although the duration may vary depending on the individual case.
  5. Pain management: Pain medication, such as over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or prescribed pain relievers, may be recommended to manage pain during the healing process.
  6. Follow-up visits: Regular follow-up appointments are essential to monitor the progress of healing, assess any complications, and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan. X-rays may be taken during these visits to evaluate bone healing and ensure proper alignment.
  7. Rehabilitation and physiotherapy: Once the cast or splint is removed, a rehabilitation program may be prescribed to restore wrist function and strength. This typically includes exercises to improve range of motion, flexibility, and grip strength. A physiotherapist or occupational therapist can guide the patient through the rehabilitation process.
  8. Surgical intervention: In some cases, especially if the fracture is severely displaced, unstable, or associated with other injuries, surgery may be required. Surgical options include open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), where the fracture fragments are realigned and held in place using screws, plates, or other fixation devices.
It’s important to note that the management of a Colles fracture can vary based on factors such as the individual’s age, overall health, the specific characteristics of the fracture, and the presence of any associated injuries. The treatment plan should be determined by a healthcare professional specializing in orthopedics or hand surgery who can evaluate the unique circumstances of each patient.
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Colles Fracture

Colles Fracture

Hand & Wrist

Dr Ananda Vella

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
MBBS (Singapore), MRCS (Edin), MMed (Ortho), FRCSEd (Orthopaedics & Trauma)
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