Distal Radius Fractures

Fractured distal radius

Fractured distal radius

The radius is a bone in your forearm. A fracture of the distal radius is situated at the wrist and is most commonly caused by falling on an out- stretched hand. A splint or plaster is commonly used to set the bones into place. However if this is not adequate, some fractures may require surgery.

The surgical procedure is called an “Open Reduction and Internal Fixation” or “ORIF” using a volar locking plate with screws. This technique allows the surgeon to piece the bones back together and often allows immediate motion at the wrist after surgery.

Open Reduction and Internal Fixation

Open Reduction and Internal Fixation

Wound Care

  • Keep the wound dry and clean when showering i.e. cover with plastic bag, until the day after the steri strips or sutures are removed.
  • Do not change the dressing yourself, unless asked to by your therapist or doctor.
  • Please contact your doctor or therapist if you have any concerns about the wound.


Your therapist will fabricate a thermoplastic splint which is worn to protect and rest your joints, relieve pain and allow easy application for exercises and wound care.

  • Wrist-OrthosisYou will generally be required to wear your splint for up to 6 weeks.
  • The splint can be removed for showering. Make sure you keep your wound dry until it is healed and you no longer require a dressing.
  • Avoid placing your splint in the sun, in a closed car, near/on a heater or in hot water. Heat can alter the shape of your splint causing it to fit incorrectly and lose its shape.
  • Your splint can be washed in cold, soapy water daily and toweled dry.
  • Please do not attempt to adjust your splint. Contact your therapist if any adjustments are necessary.
  • Please contact your therapist if you experience pain, skin irritation, pressure, swelling, pins and needles, changes in skin colour or temperature.



You are required to perform a series of exercises to prevent joint stiffness and muscle shortening. It is important that you perform these exercises within your pain limits.