Fracture of the distal radius is a common wrist fracture also known as a Colles fracture. It is a common fracture that occurs when falling on the outstretched hand. More force is often required to break a bone in a younger adult compared to an older adult. The nature of a fracture needs to be assessed with at least an x- ray. Most fractures can be treated conservatively with immobilisation such as casting however, if there is there is too much displacement or angulation in the fracture surgery may be recommended. In children and adolescents assessment of the growth plate is required.


Fractures in kids generally take 4- 6 weeks to heal and fractures in adults generally take 6- 8 weeks to heal.


What is the usual mechanism of injury?

  • Fall onto an outstretched hand


Signs and symptoms of a fracture

  • Pain on palpation of the bone
  • Night pain may be present
  • Swelling may be present
  • Movement and use of the wrist and thumb may be painful


How can Physiotherapy help?

Your Physiotherapist will be able to:

  • Apply and remove fibreglass casting
  • Treatment following casting
  • Treatment following surgery
  • Provide manual therapy to reduce pain, tightness and improve movement
  • Guide you through strengthening exercises to improve the capacity, endurance and strength of these tendons to be able to handle the loads of activities that you need to perform