Scenario: Max was snowboarding when he fell onto an outstretched hand and sustained an undisplaced distal radius fracture.
Treating a Colles Fracture With Hand Therapy
Distal radius fractures are a common injury, caused mainly by falling onto the hand. The most common type of distal radius fracture is a ‘colles’ fracture, where the fracture fragment can displace dorsally.
A simple undisplaced fracture can be managed in a cast. Due to swelling initially, a plaster of paris half cast or backslab is generally applied to immobilise the wrist joint and support the fracture whilst healing but allows for any change in swelling.
After 7 – 10 days, the plaster of paris cast can be changed to a waterproof fibreglass cast by a hand physio or occupational therapist specialising in hand therapy. This allows the patient to get their hand wet. Education will be provided on cast care and exercises given for the uninvolved joints. The cast is generally worn for 6 weeks total.
After cast removal range of motion exercises and strengthening exercises can begin.
If you have any questions about treating a fracture, or would like to book an appointment with one of our hand therapists, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.