Colles Fracture – Complications, Risks and Management

on Wednesday, 29 February 2012. Posted in Bone health, Women's Health Written By: Dr. Vindhya Asthana

Know more about the most common fracture in women

Colles Fracture – Complications, Risks and Management

Colles fracture is the most common fracture seen in women. Our forearm is composed of two bones, a thicker ‘radius’ and a thinner ‘ulna’ bone. Fracture occurring at the lower end of radius just above the border of the wrist when the person falls on an outstretched hand with palm side down on the ground is referred to as Colles fracture.

This fracture is seen most commonly among middle aged and elderly women and is known for reuniting soon.

Complications or risks associated with Colles fracture

  • Stiffness: Stiffness of the fingers and shoulder are definite but avoidable complications.
  • Non-union/ mal union: It is seen that neglect of the injury or seeking advice of unqualified quacks, not only results in inadequate joining of bone but also, the multiple bone fragments may just collapse and join in an absolute incorrect manner.
  • Osteoporotic and swollen hand: Pain and stiffness in the wrist, red shiny skin with weak bones of wrist and hand; along with the presence of swelling may limit lot of daily functions and range of motion.
  • Carpel tunnel compression:The main nerve supplying the muscles of hand can get entrapped somewhere in the wrist due to pressure exerted by fractured parts and cause nerve related symptoms.
  • Rupture of small tendons of hand:The small little ***tendons*** supporting our bones and muscles can be ruptured by attrition over the rough area at the site of fracture.

Management of the fracture

Up to three weeks
Initially there is immobilization with plaster cast application for three weeks. During this time, the elevation of hand and enough movements of fingers and shoulder is advised.

From three to six weeks
The plaster is removed now. Hence forth the only focus remains on normalizing wrist and forearm movements.

  1. Mobilization of wrist: this is done strictly by the therapist to break inner adhesions.
  2. Paraffin wax bath: Soothing heat induces relaxation and improves local circulation, hence putting the patient in an ideal situation to start exercises.
  3. Exercises: The exercises should become vigorous with time; otherwise there is all possibility of some loss of motion permanently. Some ideal exercises are:
  • Move wrist up and down, left and right.
  • Hold a stick with your hand closed, tuck your elbow and turn the stick outwards and inwards.
  • Use 1 kg weights to strengthen muscles.
  • Clasp both hands together and with your arm, elbow and wrists straight, stretch them over till your head.
  • Join both palms together and press against each other.
  • Put the palm relaxed on table and pull each finger towards yourself separately.
  • Initiate bending and straightening of elbow yourself and do all possible free movements of shoulder.
  • Perform gripping exercises yourself as well as use the resistive instruments available at the doctor’s clinic.
  • Start taking up your daily chores no matter how much difficulty you may come across.

It is suggested that doing any sort of finger or wrist movements at least 8 – 10 times during the day helps relaxing the inner tissues and aides in early recovery.

Mild pain generally persist up to 3 months, adequate measures like analgesics can be taken on prescription.

This article has been contributed by Physiotherapist; Dr. Vindhya Asthana. To ask a query contact Dr. Asthana through our section - Ask The Tzars or write in to her at - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Social Buttons