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Woodcast versus standard casting material for the immobilization of nonoperatively treated distal radial fractures

a randomized parallel-group feasibility trial

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Distal radial fractures are the most common fracture sustained by the adult population. Most can be treated using cast immobilization without the need for surgery. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of a definitive trial comparing the commonly used fibreglass cast immobilization with an alternative product called Woodcast. Woodcast is a biodegradable casting material with theoretical benefits in terms of patient comfort as well as benefits to the environment.


This was a multicentre, two-arm, open-label, parallel-group randomized controlled feasibility trial. Patients with a fracture of the distal radius aged 16 years and over were recruited from four centres in the UK and randomized (1:1) to receive a Woodcast or fibreglass cast. Data were collected on participant recruitment and retention, clinical efficacy, safety, and patient acceptability.


Over an eight-month period, 883 patients were screened, 271 were found to be eligible, and 120 were randomized. Patient-reported outcome measures were available for 116 (97%) of participants at five weeks and 99 (83%) at three months. Clinical outcomes and patient acceptability were similar between the two interventions and no serious adverse events were reported in either intervention arm.


Both interventions were deemed efficacious and safe in the cohort studied. This study showed that a definitive study comparing Woodcast and fibreglass was feasible in terms of patient recruitment and retention.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(1):48–54

Correspondence should be sent to S. Gwilym; email:

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