76 patients were examined clinically and radiologically 27 to 36 years after a fracture of the distal radius. The average age was 31 years at the time of injury and 63 years at follow-up. In 81% of the patients there was no difference between the fractured and the non-fractured side. No patient had to change his or her occupation or leisure activities because of the fracture. There were more degenerative changes in the fractured wrist than in the non-injured side. A statistically significant correlation was found between axial compression and the presence of degenerative changes in the radio-carpal and distal radio-ulnar joints. Treatment of the fracture of the distal end of the radius in the young adult should aim to conserve the length of the radius. However, after 30 years, complaints are few and correlate with degenerative changes in the radio-carpal joint only. 47 patients with articular fractures of the distal end of the radius were examined in the same way. The average age at the time of injury was 32 years and 58% of the patients were men. In 87% of the patients there was no difference between the fractured and the non-fractured side. However 37% had minor complaints. A higher proportion of patients with articular fractures developed degenerative changes than those with non-articular fractures. The existence of radiographic signs of osteoarthritis is directly related to axial compression and the persistent incongruity, after reposition, in either the radio-carpal or the distal radio-ulnar joints.
Subject classification (UKÄ)