A Colles’ wrist fracture is a break to the area in the wrist close to the hand or the distal area of the wrist. It is also called distal radius fracture, dinner fork deformity of the wrist or transverse wrist fracture. It usually happens from falling in an outstretched hand.
Symptoms of colles fracture
- Wrist pain
- Bruising and swelling of the area
- Hand or wrist deformity
- Numbness or tingling sensation of the fingers
- Fingers becomes pale due to complications
Types of Colles’ wrist fracture
- Open fracture – the bone breaks through the skin
- Comminuted fracture – more than two pieces of broken bones
- Intra-articular fracture – broken bone in the joint of the wrist
- Extra-articular fracture – fracture that does not affect the joint
- Condition such as osteoporosis which cause weakening of the bones
- Common in elderly people
- Poor muscle strength or lacking agility and with poor balance, conditions which makes a person prone to falling
- Walking or performing other activities on ice or snow or performing activities that need plenty of forward momentum such as skiing and in-line skating.
- Calcium and vitamin D deficiency
- Avoid moving the wrist after the injury. Take plenty of rest to prevent further damage and worsen the condition.
- Splint the affected wrist to prevent unnecessary movements and prevent further damage to the area. The splint can be in the form of a ruler as long as the forearm, wrist and hand. Another alternative is using a folded newspaper can be used as a splint.
- Place the arm on the splint. Avoid making the affected wrist straight, leave it at the angle it was bent after the injury to prevent further injury and worsen the condition. Wrap the lower arm and wrist using gauze or an Ace bandage. Avoid wrapping it too tight to prevent problems with circulation in the hand. Check the finger tip by pressing on the fingernail. If the color does not return immediately, loosen the wrap.
- Elevate the wrist above the level of the heart to lessen the swelling. When lying down raise the wrist in couple of pillows to keep it elevated.
- Apply ice pack on the affected wrist for at least 10 minutes at a time to lessen the swelling and the pain. Avoid ice directly on the skin. Protect the skin by wrapping the ice using a towel before placing on top of the wrist.
- Use the prescribed over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen to lessen the swelling and the pain.
The details posted on this page on Colles’ wrist fracture is for learning purposes only. To learn to properly manage the injury, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.