Fracture of the Distal End of the Radius: Historical Perspective

  • Diego L. Fernandez
  • Jesse B. Jupiter


The history of the distal radius fracture is a fascinating one, as it intertwines historical precedent, the nobility of surgical tradition, and the inevitable conflict attendant to strong surgical personalities. Although it is inconceivable that this common injury was thought not to be a fracture but, rather, a carpal dislocation until the end of the eighteenth century, descriptions of what surely were fractures abound in the literature from the time of Hippocrates onward.20 Yet, as pointed out by Cruse in 1874,10 failure to differentiate the two on clinical grounds was not surprising as:

The very peculiar and anomalous signs of Colles’ fracture, the absence of crepitus and mobility, and the many points of difference on its symptomatology and morbid anatomy from what is usual in fractures are abundant reasons for a mistake so frequently made.


Distal Radius Historical Perspective Distal Radius Fracture Styloid Process Carpal Bone 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diego L. Fernandez
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jesse B. Jupiter
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity of BernBern
  2. 2.Orthopaedic DepartmentLindenhof Hospital BernBernSwitzerland
  3. 3.Orthopaedic Surgery Harvard Medical SchoolUSA
  4. 4.Orthopaedic Hand ServiceMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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