A Colles Fracture is a very common fracture that is usually sustained as a result of a fall on to an outstretched hand. The force causes the distal radius (the bone that runs from the base of your thumb to your elbow) to fracture, usually displacing the distal end of the bone posteriorly.
An undisplaced fracture (one where the bones are still aligned) is often just treated by placing the hand and wrist in a cast. However, if a displaced fracture is present or if the bone is broken in more than one place, the best treatment option might be to surgically stabilize the bones.
Whatever the outcome in terms of casting alone or surgery, the management post-stabilisation is the same.
Due to the number of bones in the hand and wrist (x 29), there are a lot of joints, ligaments, and muscles to get moving again. Joint stiffness and hand weakness are usually the main focus of rehabilitation and the good news is that the vast majority of people return to all their former activities after a Colles fracture.
Treatment might consist of massage to help the muscles stretch and for the wrist and hand to regain its former range of movement; manual therapy to restore normal accessory joint movements through specific mobilization of the small ligaments surrounding the 29 bones; strengthening and dexterity exercises to help the recovery of all the different movements and functions of the hand and wrist; and Acupuncture for pain relief and help with the recovery process. If you play sport or have a manual job, your therapist might advise you on taping or a temporary support.
As always, our job is to impart as much knowledge and advice as we can so that you know exactly what are the best things to do to help with your recovery. During this process, we will report back to your Consultant and GP, and are always available for questions (even after discharge) if anything is bothering you.
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