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What is a distal radius fracture?

Most commonly known as a broken wrist, a distal radius fracture occurs when the area of the radius near the wrist breaks. This injury is severely common. In fact, the radius is the most commonly broken bone in the arm.

While the break can occur in many different ways, the distal radius fracture almost always occurs one inch from the end of the wrist bone. There are four ways the distal radius can break; Colles fracture, Intra-articular fracture, Extra-articular fracture, Open fracture, and Comminuted fracture. It is very important for the fracture to be properly identified in order to be correctly treated.

Broken wrist symptoms

  • Immediate pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tender to the touch
  • The wrist appears to be bent in a deformed appearance


Once the diagnosis of a broken wrist is confirmed by an X-ray, treatment options will be based upon the nature of the fracture and patient. If the break in the bone, is clean and in a good position, a cast can be used to realign the fracture. The cast is the best way to keep the wrist steady as it heals during a six-week time period.

However, if the fracture has caused the bone to become out of place surgery will be the best option to correct the alignment issues. Multiple methods can be used to realign the bone after surgery such as plates, screws and small pins. All of these various methods will be at the discretion of your OCPBC surgeon in order to provide you the best healing for your fracture.


Whether a cast or surgery is used to heal your fracture, rehabilitation for a distal radius fracture is a must to secure a successful recovery. Most of the bone healing is completed after 6 to 12 weeks. However, the overall recovery is dependent upon the overall severity of the injury.

Injury prevention with OCPBC

We are highly experienced with injury care and have treated thousands of patients suffering from numerous different injuries. If you are experiencing symptoms of a distal radius fracture, give us a call at 561-967-6500.