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March 8, 1952


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1952;148(10):825-827. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.02930100043009

Colles' fracture is a fracture of the lower end of the radius, within 1 in. (2.54 cm.) of the articular surface of the radius, which may or may not be accompanied by a fracture of the styloid process of the ulna. The usual deformity is threefold: posterior displacement, posterior angulation, and radial deviation of the hand at the wrist. The bone ends are usually impacted. The injury results from a fall on the outstretched hand, and this accounts for the type of deformity produced.

In reducing the fracture, it is extremely important that the posterior displacement and angulation be corrected, so that there will be a full range of motion in volar flexion. The fracture is usually immobilized with the wrist in marked volar flexion, in order to obtain reduction of these deformities. It is frequently necessary that this be done, but in the majority of cases, immobilization may be carried out with the wrist straight or in slight flexion. Since exaggerated volar flexion is a position in which normal function is almost impossible, it is important that the wrist be placed in as nearly a straight line as is consistent with maintenance of the reduction. The wrist should be replaced

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