Distal Radius Fractures in the Elderly

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2017 Mar;25(3):179-187. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-15-00676.


Distal radius fractures are common in elderly patients, and the incidence continues to increase as the population ages. The goal of treatment is to provide a painless extremity with good function. In surgical decision making, special attention should be given to the patient's bone quality and functional activity level. Most of these fractures can be treated nonsurgically, and careful closed reduction should aim for maintenance of anatomic alignment with a focus on protecting fragile soft tissues. Locked plating is typically used for fracture management when surgical fixation is appropriate. Surgical treatment improves alignment, but improvement in radiographic parameters may not lead to better clinical outcomes. Treatment principles, strategies, and clinical outcomes vary for these injuries, with elderly patients warranting special consideration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Fracture Fixation / methods
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Care / methods
  • Radiography
  • Radius Fractures* / diagnosis
  • Radius Fractures* / epidemiology
  • Radius Fractures* / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology