Secondary Logo

Comment on the Classics

Sherk, Henry, H

Section Editor(s): Meals, Roy A MD, Guest Editor; Harness, Neil G MD, Guest Editor

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: April 2006 - Volume 445 - Issue - p 4
doi: 10.1097/01.blo.0000194683.40624.66
SECTION I: SYMPOSIUM: Problem Fractures of the Hand and Wrist

Correspondence to: Henry H. Sherk, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgery, 245 N. 15th St. 7th Floor (MS420), Philadelphia, PA 19102. Phone: 215-762-4471; Fax: 215-762-3442; E-mail:

In keeping with our goal to have all our previously published Classic Articles made available to our readers online, we present these three previous Classics as part of this month's symposium on Problem Fractures of the Hand and Wrist. Abraham Colles published his famous paper in 1814 more than 80 years before Roentgen discovered the xray. Colles could not know the true cause of the deformities of the wrist he observed in his patients; he had to rely on a physical examination only. On this basis he reported that a fracture of the distal radius was “by far the most common injury” of the wrist as opposed to radiocarpal or carpal dislocations. After Roentgen discovered the xray, physicians could make these distinctions with precision and Étienne Destot began to publish his analyses of hand and wrist injuries using Roentgen's xray in the first decade of the 20th century. In this paper he differentiates between Colles' fractures, scaphoid fractures, and various other fractures and fracture-dislocations of the carpus. In the mid 1920s, Silvio Rolando also used Roentgen's xrays to differentiate the Rolando fracture from Bennett fractures of the base of the first metacarpal. His classic paper details an exhaustive analysis of the structure of the first carpo-metacarpal joint, how various forces work across the joint to produce different patterns of injury, and how these specific injuries require different kinds of treatment.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.