Of 2774 consecutive, prospectively documented fractures of the distal radius, 225 (8 per cent) occurred as sports injuries, mainly in young men. Soccer produced the greatest number of wrist fractures with 112 cases (50 per cent). Skiing, dancing and rugby caused 12 per cent, 9 per cent and 7 per cent of all sporting wrist fractures respectively. Skiing, horseriding and dancing consistently resulted in more complex fractures. In soccer, synthetic pitches increased the likelihood of a fracture following a fall by a factor of five. Twelve per cent of fractures required further treatment because of instability leading to redisplacement. The complication rate was 14 per cent with the majority being cases of malunion (12 per cent). Of the 131 patients who returned a questionnaire, 72.5 per cent had returned to their original sport. This was influenced mainly by the patient's age and pre-injury standard of competition.