Colle's fracture: Diagnosis and Complications

It is the most common wrist fracture which usually follows a fall on outstretched hand. The fracture occurs within 1 inch of the distal end of the commonest fractures of middle and old age (common in osteoporotic bone). The fracture occurs at cortico-cancellous junction of the bone.

Clinical features:

  1. Swelling, ecchymosis, tenderness
  2. "Dinner fork" deformity
  3. Assess neurovascular status (carpal tunnel syndrome)

X-ray: Distal fragment is -
  1. Dorsally displaced and dorsally tilted
  2. Radially displaced and radially tilted
  3. Supinated
  4. Impacted
  5. Shortened (radial styloid normally 1cm distal to ulna)
  6. +/- fracture of ulnar styloid
  1. Median nerve injury
  2. Malunion
  3. Rupture of extensor pollicis tendon
  4. Complex regional pain syndrome
What do you see? What do you feel?