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A controlled prospective trial of early exercise of slightly displaced fractures of the distal radial metaphysis has been performed. Twenty-eight fractures were enclosed in a tubigrip support 7–13 days after injury and 28 fractures were splinted in below-elbow plaster for 4 weeks. It was found that early movement of the wrist produced a superior functional result at 5 and 7 weeks (P < 0.05) and allowed an earlier recovery of domestic skills (P < 0.05). Early exercise did not improve recovery of strength of grip and did not produce a higher incidence of malunion. Patients treated in tubigrip experienced no more pain in weeks 4 and 6 and apart from one failure, no patient actively disliked this form of treatment and 22 were totally satisfied.
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Accepted: November 27, 1986
© 1987 Published by Elsevier Inc.