The treatment of isolated fractures of the distal ulna

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1984 May;66(3):408-10. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.66B3.6725352.


The integrity of the periosteum and the interosseous membrane determine the stability of fractures of the distal ulna; this is indicated by the initial displacement. In fractures displaced by less than 50% the periosteum and interosseous membranes are largely intact; these fractures are stable and require only below-elbow immobilisation for protection and relief of pain. In fractures displaced by more than 50% the membranes are disrupted; these fractures are unstable and require above-elbow immobilisation for stability. As most fractures are displaced by less than 50%, immobilisation of the elbow, which significantly increases morbidity, is usually unnecessary. I report the results of a cadaveric study on the pathomechanics of fractures of the distal ulna, and of a prospective clinical trial in which the type of cast used for immobilisation was determined by the stability of the fracture.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Casts, Surgical
  • Elbow
  • Fractures, Bone / therapy*
  • Fractures, Closed / physiopathology
  • Fractures, Closed / surgery
  • Fractures, Closed / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immobilization
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ulna Fractures / pathology
  • Ulna Fractures / surgery
  • Ulna Fractures / therapy*