If you have not heard about Colles’ fracture before, it is basically a break in the radius bone which is one of the forearm bones close to the wrist. In most cases, the fracture typically occurs if the individual falls onto his/her outstretched hand. Upon landing on the hand, the end of the radius bone breaks off and pushed to the interior wrist.
What are the usual indications of a Colles’ fracture?
Once the individual sustained trauma to the wrist or has fallen on his/her hand or wrist, he/she might have a Colles’ fracture. The common signs and symptoms of a Colles’ fracture include the following:
- Swelling in the arm, wrist or hand
- Evident deformity of a lump on the rear side of the forearm close to the wrist
- Loss of mobility in the wrist
Primary treatment for a Colles’ fracture
If an individual has fallen and damaged the wrist and hand in which a Colles’ fracture is suspected, it is vital to seek immediate medical attention. A doctor should be consulted or bring him/her to the nearest emergency department. If unable to do so, it can result to serious complications and permanent loss of arm and hand function. A diagnosis of a wrist fracture is usually done with an X-ray.
Due to the pain and swelling that manifest after the fracture, it is recommended to apply an ice pack over the wrist and hand until the individual is seen by a doctor or taken to the emergency department. The RICE method used for acute injuries can help keep the swelling and pain under control until a healthcare professional can provide treatment.
The initial treatment for a Colles’ fracture is reduction. The doctor positions the broken bone/bones in the right position so that proper healing can take place. This is performed manually if the damaged bone is not moved too far out of its proper position. In case the fracture is severe, open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) might be performed to reduce the fracture.
Once the fracture has been reduced, it requires immobilization. This is performed using a brace or cast. In most cases, the individual is required to put the arm in a sling. Regular visits with the physical therapist are also required so that the individual will learn how to properly use the sling. It is also vital to keep the bones immobilized so that correct healing can take place. Make sure that the individual will consult a doctor for any questions regarding the cast, brace or sling.
Always bear in mind that a Colles’ fracture can be a scary and painful ordeal. The individual might find it difficult to use the damaged arm and hand to perform daily activities. With the help of a physical therapist, the functional mobility can be improved to ensure that the individual can quickly and safely resume normal activities in no time.