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Colles fracture: treatment and rehabilitation

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Due to different accidents, you may suffer a crack or fracture in different bones. The first is a small break with continuity, while the second is a break with discontinuity, that is, the bone breaks and separates. Among the most exposed areas and most at risk of suffering a fracture is the forearm , mainly its largest bone known as the radius.

The distal radius fracture or Colles fracture is a very common injury and, due to its close proximity to the wrist joint, many confuse it with a disorder in this area. That is why if you have discomfort and do not know what it is, it is important that you visit a doctor, while at FastlyHealwe explain everything about Colles’ fracture: treatment and rehabilitation. On the other hand, it is essential that you eat a proper diet, accompanied by moderate exercise to strengthen the bones of your body and avoid injuries that can become very annoying.

Details of the Colles fracture

distal radius fracture generally occurs about 1 inch from the end of the bone; however, this fracture can occur in a number of ways. One of the most common injuries of the radius is the so-called Colles fracture , which is characterized by the fact that the fragment that is broken leans upwards.

There are other ways in which the distal radius can be broken, for example, an intra-articular fracture, which extends to the interior and affects the wrist joint, different from the extra-articular one, which does not extend to the inside. There is also the open or exposed fracture, which is the one that occurs when the broken bone breaks the skin; whereas, the comminuted fracture is characterized by the fact that the bone breaks into two or more pieces.

While there are many causes for a Colles fracture, the most common is that it happens from a fall on the outstretched arm. If you suffer from osteoporosis , a blow or a minor accident can cause a distal radius fracture, although it is more normal in people over 60 years of age.

The most characteristic symptom you feel is intense pain in the affected area the moment the accident occurs. Then, you present inflammation, discomfort to the touch and you could suffer a deformation in the wrist depending on the intensity of the fracture.

Non-surgical treatment of Colles’ fracture

For any type of fracture, the treatment you should follow has a single general rule of thumb, it is simply to put the bone in the correct place and avoid movement until it is welded again. The method will depend on both the type of fracture and the professional’s choice.

If you suffer from an injury in which the broken bone is placed in the correct position, the specialist may choose to apply a cast for as long as it is needed until the bone structure is consolidated again.

Instead, if the fracture has thrown your bones out of place, your doctor will need to move them into position and then immobilize the area. When this happens and the specialist can align the bones again without having to open the skin, it is called closed reduction , which leads to later needing a sling to support the arm for the first days due to the inflammation that occurs and, finally, casting the arm.

The length of time you need to keep the area without movement can vary and also depends on the severity of the disorder; However, it usually takes about 6 weeks, although it is essential that your doctor constantly monitor the injury and, in this way, indicate the correct time necessary for you.

Surgical treatment of Colles’ fracture

There are situations in which the bone is totally out of place making it impossible for it to be corrected in any way other than through surgery. In addition, many times this procedure is essential so that you do not suffer interference with the normal functioning of the arm in the future.

The surgery for Colles fracture usually leads to an incision to have direct access to broken bones and, thus, improve the position thereof. For you to keep the bone aligned until it heals, there are different options, among which are metal nails, an external fixator, casting or combining several of these techniques.

When the fracture you present is of the open type, it is essential to undergo urgent surgical treatment. In these cases, the doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics to avoid infections in the injured area and, after surgery, you can opt for an external or internal fixator in which a plate is placed first and, days later, some screws .

Colles fracture rehabilitation exercise 1

Although the rehabilitation of Colles’ fracture will be guided by a specialist, you can perform different exercises that help the recovery process to promote mobility and the strength that is lost in the area due to immobilization time.

In this first exercise, you must be seated and support your forearm on a table, leaving your hand outside so that it is bent. Then gently raise your hand as far as you can, hold for 5 seconds, and return to the starting position for 15-20 reps.

Rehabilitation exercise 2 for Colles’ fracture

To regain the strength lost in the period when you could not grasp anything with your injured hand, you can perform numerous exercises for Colles’ fracture that help you little by little to be able to grasp things in the same way as you did before the injury.

For this, you simply have to squeeze a rubber ball for 5 or 7 seconds , rest for 2 or 3 seconds and perform the force again. In this way, you reactivate and exercise the muscles of the wrist and forearm, so you must perform at least 10 repetitions.

Rehabilitation exercise 3 for Colles’ fracture

The mobility that you lose due to the fracture affects not only the arm and wrist, but also the fingers, so different exercises can help you to use your hand normally again.

Keep your hand open and spread all the fingers in a fan shape, with the greatest distance you can and stay in this position for 10 seconds and then rest. Then, close your hand as far as possible without including your thumb in your fist and hold it for 5 seconds to return to the starting position and start the exercise again.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Colles’ fracture: treatment and rehabilitation , we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, joints and muscles .

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