Radius Fracture

What is a Radius Fracture?
The radius is the larger of the two bones in the lower arm and is the most commonly injured bone in the arm. Their is a type of radius fracture known as a distal radius fracture which is commonly seen. This injury is also known as a wrist fracture due to the break in the radius being so close to the wrist.  Fractures to the distal radius are very common, and it is important to note that most of the fractures sustained to the radius are caused when an individual falls and they are reaching out to catch themselves. There are also instances where the second bone in the lower arm known as the ulna can break along with the radius.  This type of fracture would be known as a distal ulnar fracture.

Medical Definition of a Radius Fracture
Fractures of the radial head and neck result from falls on the outstretched hand.  These fractures are typically separated into three types.  Type 1 is a non-displaced or minimally displaced fracture.  Type 2 includes radial head fractures that are displaced more than 2mm at the articular surface or angular neck fractures that produce articular incongruity or a mechanical block.  Type 3 fractures are severely comminuted fractures of the radial head and neck.

Synonyms
- Radial Head Fracture
- Fractured Forearm

What are the symptoms of a Radius Fracture?
- Pain and swelling develop over the lateral aspect of the elbow.
- Loss of range of motion in elbow in Type 1 fracture.
- Mechanical block of forearm pronation & supination in type 2 & type 3 fractures.

Related Injuries
- Ulnar Fracture
-
Wrist Fracture

Treatment of a Radius Fracture
- Type 1 fractures- treat with a sling or brace that supports early range of motion.
- Type 2 fractures- treat with early range of motion if displacement of 30% or less.
- Type 3 fractures- treat by early excision of bone fragments.
- Proper usage of
NSAIDS to help alleviate any pain.

Surgery
- Distal Radius Fracture Repair
-
Ulna Fracture Repair

Related Anatomy
- Elbow Joint
-
Radius
-
Ulna

References
Greene W.B. (Ed). (2001). Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care.Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (187-188)