The management of distal radius fracture in adults: the identification of “the good treatment for the good patient”

Antoine Vanderlinden, Ghady El Khoury, Maxime Bonnelance, Xavier Libouton, Olivier Barbier Published in the journal : May 2022 Category : Orthopedics

Summary :

The distal radius fracture is the most commonly encountered condition in the emergency departments (1). Its treatment is primarily aimed to improve pain and restore function (2).

The treatment modality depends on the anato-mical fracture characteristics and on functional demands of the patient, as well. It can vary from simple splinting to a complex surgical intervention.

For high-demanding patients, operative fracture treatment consisting of post-reduction radial shortening >3mm, dorsal tilt >10 degrees, or intraarticular displacement with step off >2mm has proven to be associated with improved radiographic and patient reported outcomes (3). Instead, for patients with limited functional demands, conservative treatment is still the preferred option (3).

This article sought to provide management and follow-up strategies for distal radius fracture in adults.

What is already known about the topic?

The radius fracture is the first fracture location in the upper limb (1) and is, along with the hip fracture, the two most frequent locations of fractures in our emergency departments (4).

The modalities of management are multiple, ranging from simple restraint to complex surgical treatments.

What does this article bring up for us?

This article offers a guide for the management of distal radius fractures in adults based on current knowledge, considering the characteristics of the fracture and the patient.

Cast immobilization after fracture reduction forms the basis of treatment. In case of insufficient reduction, instability or joint displacement, surgery is indicated in young patients with high functional demands because in this group function and anatomy are closely related.

Key Words

Distal radius fracture, treatment