Intraarticular fracture of distal radius - types by Melone

The Melone classification was first published in 1986. It divides distal radius fractures in four types. This classification is based on a concept of four major fragments including the shaft, the radial styloid process, a dorsal-medial fragment, and a palmar-medial fragment. The latter two fragments form the lunate fossa.

Type Description
I - undisplaced fractures Undisplaced or minimally displaced fracture with minimal comminution.
II - die-punch fractures "Die-punch" fracture with moderate to severe dorsal or palmar displacement of the medial complex.
III - spike fractures Presence of a spike fragment from the shaft that projects into flexor compartment and can injure the flexor tendons and the median nerve. Medial complex is displaced as a unit. Displaced radial shaft fragments.
IV - split fractures Wide separation or rotation of the intraarticular fragments, extensive soft tissue and periarticular damage.


1. Melone CP Jr. Open treatment for displaced articular fractures of the distal radius. Clin. Orthop. Relat. Res. 1986 Jan;(202):103–11.
2. Andersen DJ, Blair WF, Steyers CM Jr, Adams BD, el-Khouri GY, Brandser EA. Classification of distal radius fractures: an analysis of interobserver reliability and intraobserver reproducibility. J Hand Surg Am. 1996 Jul;21(4):574–82.