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Wrist Case 5 Background

Smith Fracture


A Smith fracture, or "reverse Colles fracture," is a transverse fracture of the distal radius with volar angulation. The fracture is named after the orthopedic surgeon, Robert William Smith, who first described the fracture in his book, A Treatise on Fractures in the Vicinity of Joints, and on certain forms of Accidents and Congenital Dislocations, published in 1847. Because the volar displacement of fracture fragments makes nerve and ligamentous injury more likely, and because many of these fractures remain unstable and require operative repair, Smith fractures are thought of as more severe injuries than the more common Colles fracture.