This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Either one or both bones of the fore-arm may be broken, but the treatment remains the same as in other cases. The splints required for this fracture should be of sufficient length to reach over to the end of the elbow and the middle of the palm. They should be a little wider than the arm itself, so as to take off the pressure of the bandage. Care should be taken not to cut them so wide that the arm will be loose. The splints should be applied in such a way that the elbow can be flexed. In setting the bone, the arm should be drawn with the palm upward so as to make the bones parallel inside of the hand. The splints should then be applied and the arm drawn with the thumb upward. While held in this position, straps of adhesive plaster may be applied around the end of each, which may be afterward reinforced by a bandage.
When the radius, or outer-bone of the arm, that upon the thumb side, is broken, the hand drops to one side. This fracture, known as Colles's fracture, is occasioned by a fall upon the hands. It is also sometimes called "back-door" fracture, because it so frequently occurs from slipping upon the ice in stepping from the back-door. The term "silver-fork" fracture is also applied to it on account of the shape of the wrist which resembles the bend at the point where the shank of the fork joins the tines.
The limb is very rarely perfectly restored. After this accident, more or less stiffness of the wrist generally remains. This fracture is best treated by means of a pistol-shaped splint for the inside, reaching from the elbow to the ends of the fingers, and a short, strait splint, reaching from the elbow to the wrist, for the outside of the arm. The splints should be carefully stuffed or padded on the inside. The hand should be brought up into position as nearly as possible and the splints applied and kept in position by a roller bandage. Considerable care should be taken in the treatment of this fracture, as not infrequently considerable swelling occurs, which sometimes results in loss of the hand. After the splint has been adjusted, the arm should be put in a sling.