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Distal radius fractures

man at an indoor climbing wall

Distal radius fractures are one of the most common forms of fractures. The break occurs most commonly approximately one inch from the end of the distal radius.

Causes and risks factors

  • Falling on an outstretched arm
  • Osteoporosis may increase the risk of fracture
  • Car accident or bike fall may generate enough force to cause a break


  • Immediate pain
  • Tenderness in the wrist
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Deformity the wrist

Diagnosis and treatment

Treatment will depend on the severity of the break, and most distal radius fractures are treated non-operatively. If the fracture is significantly displaced and/or unstable, your doctor may discuss surgical treatment with you. In many cases, treatment is patient dependent and varies based on age, activity level and functional goals. Regardless of treatment selected, distal radius fractures generally take 10 – 12 weeks to heal and require a period of immobilization followed by progressive increase in range of motion and activity.