We performed a prospective, randomised trial on 120 patients with redisplaced fractures of the distal radius comparing four methods of treatment. The four treatment groups, each containing 30 patients, were remanipulation and plaster, open reduction and bone grafting, and closed external fixation with and without mobilisation of the wrist at three weeks. The radiological results showed improvement in angulation of the distal radius for the open reduction and bone grafting group. Functional results at six weeks, three and six months and at one year, however, showed no difference between any of the four groups. The main influence on final outcome was carpal malalignment which had a statistically significant negative effect on function.