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A to Z: Fracture, Distal Radius and Ulna

A to Z: Fracture, Distal Radius and Ulna

May also be called: Broken Wrist; Colles' Fracture

Fractures of the distal radius and ulna, or broken bones of the forearm, are common injuries, usually from a forward fall.

More to Know

The radius and the ulna are the bones of the forearm found between the elbow and wrist. The radius is the bone on the thumb side and the ulna is the bone on the little finger side. People may break both of these bones when they trip and hold an arm out to stop the fall. The distal (closest to the hand) part of the bones are most likely to be injured.

Keep in Mind

Doctors use casts or splints to keep bones from moving and to support injured limbs while they heal. Casts wrap around the broken area and can be made out of plaster, fiberglass, or even plastic and air (called an air cast). A splint is like a cast, but does not go all the way around the arm.

Broken bones heal at different rates, depending on the age of the person and the type of fracture.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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