General Guideline Principles for Distal Forearm Fractures
for workers compensation patients

The New York State workers compensation board has developed these guidelines to help physicians, podiatrists, and other healthcare professionals provide appropriate treatment for Distal Forearm Fractures.

These Workers Compensation Board guidelines are intended to assist healthcare professionals in making decisions regarding the appropriate level of care for their patients with ankle and foot disorders.

The guidelines are not a substitute for clinical judgement or professional experience. The ultimate decision regarding care must be made by the patient in consultation with his or her healthcare provider.

Distal Forearm Fractures of Hand, Wrist and Forearm Injuries

Adults can sustain a number of distal forearm fractures, with Colles’ fracture accounting for the majority of cases. The lateral view x-displacement ray’s or dorsal angulation of the fracture fragments is the defining characteristic of a Colles’ fracture.

The displaced fracture fragments with an anterior angulation and the displaced fracture fragments that are displaced palmarly and possibly have an anterior angulation are two additional adult distal radial fractures. Despite the severity of these injuries, the majority of patients will experience a positive outcome with the right diagnosis and treatment.

Traumatic forces—most frequently the result of falling on an extended hand—cause distal radial fractures. The most common cause of Colles’ fracture is breaking a fall while the hand is extended and the wrist is in dorsiflexion. Less common causes include direct blows to the radial stylus or impacts to the dorsum of the hand while the wrist is flexed.

Until proven otherwise, wrist injuries that cause a lot of pain, swelling, ecchymosis, crepitance, or deformity should be classified as fractures. Concomitant vascular, neurological, ligament, and tendon injuries are possible with forearm fractures.

Further, since distal forearm fractures are caused by trauma, a thorough examination for other traumatic injuries like elbow, shoulder, neck, head, and hip should be performed. In general, an orthopaedic or hand surgeon should treat the majority of distal forearm fractures, and consultation is advised.

Diagnostic Studies of Distal Forearm Fractures

Diagnostic Studies of Distal Forearm Fractures X-ray

Diagnostic Studies of Distal Forearm Fractures X-ray for are recommended It is advised to use posterior-anterior, lateral, and, if available, oblique views as a first-line study for suspected distal forearm fractures.It is advisable to compare contralateral wrist x-ray images because doing so could increase the accuracy of some radiographic measurements.

Motives for the Recommendation The necessary information regarding location, configuration, displacement, subluxation, stability likelihood, and concurrent soft tissue injury risk should be provided to the provider by a radiographic evaluation.

Contralateral wrist x-ray images ought to be taken into account as a comparison that may enhance the accuracy of some radiographic measurements, particularly for a more precise assessment of stability and to provide better direction on the need for treatment.

  1. MRIMRI is recommended after x-ray images reveal a complicated displaced, unstable, or comminuted distal forearm fracture, to identify suspected soft-tissue trauma.

    Indication – X-ray confirmation of a complicated distal forearm fracture that is displaced, unstable, or comminuted.

    Rationale for Recommendation – MRI may be a crucial diagnostic tool for the evaluation of suspected soft tissue injuries associated with distal radius fractures, such as those to the flexor and extensor tendons or the median nerve, once displaced, comminuted, or unstable fractures have been confirmed.

    Other possible symptoms include the detection of perforations in the triangular fibrocartilage complex, tears in the carpal ligaments, and the showing of the contents of the carpal tunnel


  2. CTCT are recommended for investigating hidden and complicated distal forearm fractures to better understand fracture displacement, articular involvement, and distal radioulnar joint subluxation.

    Indication – Negative x-rays with a strong suspicion of an occult fracture.

    Rationale for Recommendation -In contrast to MRI, CT should be taken into account when x-ray images are negative but an occult fracture is strongly suspected based on physical findings. The evaluation of complex comminuted fractures may also benefit from using CT because it offers a superior representation of the distal radial articular surface involvement, fragment positioning, and diagnosis of subluxations of the distal radioulnar joint.

Medications of Distal Forearm Fractures

Ibuprofen, naproxen, or other NSAIDs from an earlier generation are suggested as first-line treatments for the majority of patients. For patients who are not candidates for NSAIDs, acetaminophen (or the analogue paracetamol) may be a viable alternative, even though the majority of research indicates it is only marginally less effective than NSAIDs.

There is proof that NSAIDs are less dangerous and just as effective at treating pain as opioids, such as tramadol.

  1. Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) for Treatment of Acute, Subacute, or Chronic Distal Forearm Fractures PainNon-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) for Treatment of Acute, Subacute, or Chronic Distal Forearm Fractures Pain are recommended for the relief of pain from distal forearm fractures that are acute, subacute, or chronic.

    Indications – NSAIDs are advised as a treatment for the pain associated with distal forearm fractures that is acute, subacute, or chronic. First, try over-the-counter (OTC) medications to see if they work.

    Frequency/Duration: Many Patients may find it reasonable to use as needed.

    Indications for Discontinuation: the symptom’s resolution, the medication’s ineffectiveness, or the emergence of side effects that require stopping.


  2. NSAIDs for Patients at High Risk of Gastrointestinal BleedingNSAIDs for Patients at High Risk of Gastrointestinal Bleeding is recommended misoprostol, sucralfate, histamine Type 2 receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors for patients at high risk of gastrointestinal bleeding when taken concurrently with cytoprotective classes of medications.

    Indications: Cytoprotective drugs should be taken into consideration for patients with a high-risk factor profile who also have indications for NSAIDs, especially if a longer course of treatment is planned. Patients who have a history of gastrointestinal bleeding in the past, the elderly, diabetics, and smokers are at risk.

    Frequency/Dose/Duration:H2 blockers, misoprostol, sucralfate, and proton pump inhibitors are advised. dosage recommendations from the manufacturer. It is generally accepted that there are no significant differences in effectiveness for preventing gastrointestinal bleeding.

    Indications for Discontinuation: Intolerance, the emergence of negative effects, or the stopping of NSAIDs.


  3. Patients at Risk for Cardiovascular Side Effects and NSAIDsThe advantages and disadvantages of NSAID therapy for pain should be discussed with patients who have a history of cardiovascular disease or who have multiple cardiovascular risk factors.


    • Patients at Risk for Cardiovascular Side Effects and NSAIDsPatients at Risk for Cardiovascular Side Effects and NSAIDs is recommended as far as adverse cardiovascular effects go, acetaminophen or aspirin as first-line therapy seem to be the safest options.


    • Patients at Risk for Cardiovascular Side Effects and NSAIDsPatients at Risk for Cardiovascular Side Effects and NSAIDs is recommended If necessary, non-selective NSAIDs are preferred to COX-2-specific medications. Low-dose aspirin is given to patients for the The NSAID should be taken at least 30 minutes after or 8 hours before the daily aspirin to reduce the chance that it will negate the protective effects of aspirin, whether for primary or secondary cardiovascular disease prevention.


  4. Acetaminophen for Treatment of Distal Forearm Fractures PainAcetaminophen for Treatment of Distal Forearm Fractures Pain are recommended for the relief of pain from distal forearm fractures, especially in patients who should not take NSAIDs.

    Indications: All patients with distal forearm fractures who experience pain, including post-operative, chronic, subacute, and acute.

    Dose/Frequency:As per the manufacturer’s recommendations; can be used as required. Over four gm/day, there is evidence of hepatic toxicity.

    Indications for Discontinuation: relief from discomfort, negative effects, or intolerance.


  5. Opioids of Distal Forearm FracturesLimited Use of Opioids for Acute and Post-operative Pain Management

    Limited Use of Opioids for Acute and Post-operative Pain Management are recommended for brief periods of time (less than seven days) as an adjunctive therapy to more potent treatments for the management of acute and post-operative pain.

    Indications: A brief prescription of opioids is frequently necessary for acute injury and post-operative pain management, especially at night, as an adjunct to more effective treatments (especially NSAIDs, acetaminophen, elevation, and splinting).

    Frequency/Duration: As needed during the day, only at night later, and finally completely discontinued.

    Rationale for Recommendation: When NSAIDs are ineffective in relieving a patient’s pain, opioids should be used sparingly, especially at night. Opioids are advised for brief, selective use in postoperative patients, with nighttime use being the main recommendation for achieving postoperative sleep.

Treatments of Distal Forearm Fractures

The following criteria should be used to base treatment recommendations: is a fracture may be open or closed, stable or unstable, or possibly unstable in the future.


Cast Immobilization for Non-displaced or Minimally Displaced Distal Radius Fractures

Cast Immobilization for Non-displaced or Minimally Displaced Distal Radius Fractures are recommended Cast immobilisation for 6 weeks.

Displaced Distal Radial Fracture

Distal radial fractures are defined as fractures with bone loss or bone involvement that will not allow for structural integrity without the use of internal or external fixation of the Bone. These fractures may have radiographic measurements of 10° or more of dorsal angulation, more than 2 mm of radial shortening, or any degree of unstable fractures.

Closed Reduction and Casting for Displaced Distal Radial Fractures

Closed Reduction and Casting for Displaced Distal Radial Fractures are recommended fractures are reduced and cast, which remain stable when reduced

Rehabilitation of Distal Forearm Fractures

Rehab (supervised formal therapy) needed after a work-related injury should be concentrated on regaining the functional ability needed to meet the patient’s daily and work obligations and enable them to return to work, with the goal of returning the injured worker to their pre-injury status to the extent that is practical.

Active therapy calls for the patient to make an internal effort to finish a particular task or exercise. The interventions known as passive therapy depend on the delivery of certain modalities rather than the patient exerting any effort. by a counsellor.

Passive interventions are typically seen as a way to facilitate advancement in a therapy programme with active participation and concurrent achievement of the goal gains in functionality Active rather than passive interventions should be prioritised. Interventions.

To extend the therapeutic process and maintain improvement levels, the patient should be advised to continue both active and passive therapies at home.

To facilitate functional gains, assistive devices may be used as an adjunctive measure in the rehabilitation plan.

  1. Therapy – Active of Distal Forearm Fractures 
    • Therapeutic Exercise after Cast Removal for Acute Colles’ FractureTherapeutic Exercise after Cast Removal for Acute Colles’ Fracture is recommended for patients with functional limitations or those who are unable to find employment

      Frequency/Dose/Duration –Patients with mild functional deficits may only require two to three total visits, while those with more severe deficits may need 12 to 15 visits. Ongoing objective functional improvement.

      If there is evidence of functional improvement toward specific objective functional goals (e.g., increased grip strength, key pinch strength, range of motion, or improving ability to perform work activities), more than 12 to 15 visits may be necessary to address persistent functional deficits.

      A home exercise programme should be created as part of the rehabilitation strategy and carried out alongside the therapy.


    • Education after Cast Removal for Acute Colles’ FractureEducation after Cast Removal for Acute Colles’ Fracture is recommended for select patients


  2. Therapy – Passive of Distal Forearm FracturesLow Frequency Electromagnetic Fields to Stimulate Bone Healing of Distal Radial Fractures

    Low Frequency Electromagnetic Fields to Stimulate Bone Healing of Distal Radial Fractures is not recommended patients with non-displaced fractures to promote bone healing.

Surgery of Distal Forearm Fractures

  1. Closed ReductionClosed Reduction is recommended for the treatment of unstable extra-articular fractures that are severely displaced but not reducible


  2. Medullary Pinning (k-wire) or Intramedullary Fixation TechniquesMedullary Pinning (k-wire) or Intramedullary Fixation Techniques are recommended In select patients


  3. Open Reduction and Internal FixationOpen Reduction and Internal Fixation are recommended if other forms of treatment for the fracture fail to stabilise it.


  4. Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) Repair for Distal Radial FracturesTriangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) Repair for Distal Radial Fractures is not recommended Repair of the TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage complex) for distal radial fractures.


  5. Hardware RemovalHardware Removal is recommended Hardware removal is advised after it has been implanted in some cases, depending on the doctor’s or the patient’s preferences.

    Indications in cases where there is 1) protruding hardware, 2) pain that is attributed to the hardware, or 3) broken hardware, as per the doctor’s or patient’s preference hardware on imaging, and/or (4) a positive reaction to the anaesthetic injection


  6. Cast ImmobilizationCast immobilization is recommended for the treatment of distal forearm fractures, moderately displaced extra-articular fractures, or extra-articular fractures that are extra-articular and stable on reduction but not comminuted or nondisplaced intra-articular fractures.

What our office can do if you have workers compensation injuries

We have the experience to help you with their workers compensation injuries. We understand what you are going through and will meet your medical needs and follow the guidelines set by the New York State Workers Compensation Board.

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I am fellowship trained in joint replacement surgery, metabolic bone disorders, sports medicine and trauma. I specialize in total hip and knee replacements, and I have personally written most of the content on this page.

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