Descriptive Epidemiology of Isolated Distal Radius Fractures in Children: Results from a Prospective Multicenter Registry

Pediatric Distal Radius Fracture (PDRF) Study Group, Apurva S. Shah, Ryan H. Guzek, Mark L. Miller, Michael C. Willey, Susan T. Mahan, Donald S. Bae

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8 Scopus citations


Introduction: More than 1 in 4 pediatric fractures involves the distal radius. Most prior epidemiologic studies are limited to retrospective, single center investigations, and often include adults. This study aims to describe the contemporary epidemiology of pediatric distal radius fractures using prospectively collected data from a multicenter Pediatric Distal Radius Fracture Registry. Methods: Patients aged 4 to 18 years diagnosed with a distal radius fracture from June 2018 through December 2019 at 4 tertiary care pediatric centers were screened and enrolled in this prospective longitudinal cohort study. Patients were excluded if they presented with bilateral distal radius fractures, polytrauma, or re-fracture. Demographic information, mechanism of injury, fracture characteristics, associated injuries, and procedural information were recorded. All radiographs were reviewed and measured. Descriptive statistics and bivariate analyses were performed. Results: A total of 1951 patients were included. The mean age was 9.9±3.3 years, and 61.3% of patients were male (P<0.001). Most injuries occurred during a high-energy fall (33.5%) or sports participation (28.4%). The greatest proportion of fractures occurred during the spring months (38.5%). Torus fractures (44.0%) were more common than bicortical (31.3%) or physeal (21.0%) fractures. Of the physeal fractures, 84.3% were Salter-Harris type II. Associated ulnar fractures were observed in 51.2% of patients. The mean age at injury was higher for patients with physeal fractures (11.6±2.9 y) than patients with torus or bicortical fractures (9.4±3.1 and 9.6±3.1 y, respectively; P<0.001). Thirty-six percent of distal radius fractures underwent closed reduction and 3.3% underwent surgical fixation. Patients treated with closed reduction were more likely to be male (68.7% vs. 57.2%; P<0.001), obese (25.3% vs. 17.2%; P<0.001), and have bicortical fractures (62.2% vs. 14.5%; P<0.001). Conclusions: Distal radius fractures in children have a male preponderance and are most likely to occur in the spring months and during high-energy falls and sports. Physeal fractures tend to occur in older children while torus and bicortical fractures tend to occur in younger children. Level of Evidence: Level I - prognostic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1-E8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • PDRF registry
  • distal radius fracture
  • epidemiology
  • fracture
  • pediatric distal radius fracture
  • pediatric wrist fractures
  • wrist


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