Know about Colles Fracture: What is it and how to treat it?

Know about colles fracture: What is it and how to treat it?

A Colles fracture is a type of fracture of radius bone close to the wrist. It’s also called wrist fracture. It can be very painful if not cared for properly. The term “colles fracture” is associated with and first described by Abraham Colles in 1814.

Colles fractures happen due to falls on your outstretched hand and radial – ulnar articulation’s disturbance. This fracture happens when a bone is broken about one inch far from the end of the radius bone, and when bone points upward.

Causes and risk factors of colles fracture

Colles fracture often occur more in females as compared to males due to osteoporosis disorder. Adults have stronger bones so these fractures are less common in them, which might be due to sudden but severe accidents and trauma. A colles fracture is mainly caused by:

  • Fall on outstretched hand or arm
  • Radial – ulnar articulation’s disturbance
  • Trauma or sudden accidents in adults
  • Osteoporosis in older women
  • Person know not about weak bone until this fracture happens
  • Especially common in people of over 60 with weak bones

Symptoms of colles fracture

Ordinary symptoms of colles fractures are:

  • Pain at the fracture site
  • Swelling of the fracture
  • Deformity in the wrist or radius bone
  • Bruising
  • Inability to hold objects
  • Malunion
  • Compartment syndrome

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If the fracture is not painful, swollen or deformed, you can wait for one or two days to see your doctor. But if your fracture is very severe, see your physician immediately. Your physician will guide you whether further treatment is necessary or not. An X – ray is most commonly used to diagnose your colles fracture. An orthopedist conducts your treatment for the broken fracture.


Healthcare provides treatment for the broken bones and aims to get them back to their original position if they have displaced a little bit. Treatment methods depend on the following factors:

  • Nature of injuries
  • Patient’s age
  • Patients activities 

Non surgical treatments

If the broken bones are in their right position and no disturbance has occurred, a plaster cast or splint is used to heal your bones.

A splint is usually used for non active and older people where severeness and pain is minimal. While a cast is used for more active people which stay almost six weeks on the fracture till the healing of colles fracture. Doctors monitor the individual broken bones healing process. At regular intervals, different examinations are tested till the healing of the bone. X – ray technique is applied to check healing of the bone.

Closed reduction is a healing process in which no incision is made in the skin. The broken bone gets back to its original position by your physician’s hands. After that a cast is kept on the arm for healing.

Surgical treatments

In an operation theater, a surgeon performs an open reduction technique to reveal the colles fracture, if bones are displaced severely. In closed reduction, an incision is made in the skin to arrange and model the broken bones. 

To hold the broken bones on its original place, following ingredients are used:

  • A csat to wrap your arm 
  • Steel or titanium pins 
  • Plates
  • Screws
  • An external fixator to hold your arm outside

Painkillers and Caring

To get rid of pain, following medicines may be recommended by your physician:

  • Ice packs and non prescription pain relievers used for moderate pain;
  • Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are used to to kill pain and inflammation;
  • All the time, dry your cast and in case of bathing use plastic cover;
  • After 1 to 2 months, light activities should be performed;
  • Vigorous activities can be resumed after 3 to 6 months;
  • Physiotherapy may be started after the cast has been removed;
  • Full recovery from colles fracture may take one year.

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