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This is a very common injury which affects the distal end of the radius. It was first described by Abraham Colles in 1814 who reported a transverse fracture of the radius, within 1 inch of the wrist, and with dorsal displacement and dorsal angulation of the distal fragment.
The fracture is most common in elderly postmenopausal osteoporotic women who give a history of a fall onto an outstretched hand.