We carried out a randomised, prospective, multicentre clinical trial of the treatment of Colles' fractures. A total of 339 patients was placed into two groups, those with minimally displaced fractures not requiring manipulation (151 patients) and those with displaced fractures which needed manipulation (188 patients). Treatment was by either a conventional Colles' plaster cast (a control group) or with a prefabricated functional brace (the Aberdeen Colles' fracture brace).
Similar results were obtained in both groups with regard to the reduction and to pain scores but the brace provided better grip strength in the early stages of treatment. This was statistically significant after five weeks for both manipulated and non-manipulated fractures. At the tenth day the results were statistically significant only in manipulated fractures. There was no significant difference in the functional outcome between the two treatment groups. However, younger patients and those with less initial displacement had better functional results.