Table of Contents
ISRN Orthopedics
Volume 2014, Article ID 189803, 7 pages
Research Article

Distal Radial Fractures in the Superelderly: Does Malunion Affect Functional Outcome?

Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Little France, Edinburgh, EH16 4SA, UK

Received 10 September 2013; Accepted 25 December 2013; Published 4 March 2014

Academic Editors: Z. Li, T. Matsumoto, and Y. A. Weil

Copyright © 2014 N. D. Clement et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. The management of unstable distal radial fractures in the superelderly (≥80 years old) remains controversial. The aim of this study was to compare the functional outcome of super-elderly patients with and without malunion after a distal radial fracture. Methods. We identified 51 superelderly patients living independently with displaced fractures from a prospective database of 4024 patients with distal radial fractures. Activities of daily living, presence of wrist pain, whether the wrist had returned to its normal level function, grip strength and ROM were recorded. The dorsal angulation was measured radiographically. Results. There were 17 (33.3%) patients defined to have a malunion. The outcomes of the independent patients with and without malunion were compared at a mean follow-up of 15 months. No difference was observed in activities of daily living , wrist pain , whether the wrist had returned to its normal level function , grip strength , or ROM . An increasing degree of dorsal angulation correlated with diminished ROM (), but did not correlate with activities of daily living (). Conclusions. Malunion of the distal radius does not influence the functional outcome of independent superelderly patients.