A forearm fracture is a break in one or both bones of the forearm.
The forearm consists of 2 bones:
Forearm Fracture with Swelling
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A forearm fracture is caused by trauma to the bone. Trauma may include:
Forearm fracture is more common in older adults.
Factors that may increase the risk of forearm fracture include:
A forearm fracture may cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms, your physical activity, and how the injury occurred. The injured area will be examined.
Imaging tests assess the bones, surrounding structures, and soft tissues. This can be done with:
Proper treatment can prevent long-term complications or problems with the forearm. Treatment will depend on how serious the fracture is, but may include:
Extra support may be needed to protect, support, and keep the forearm in line while it heals. Supportive steps may include a splint, brace, or cast. A sling may be necessary to help stabilize the arm.
Some fractures cause pieces of bone to separate. The doctor will put these pieces back into their proper place. This may be done:
Children’s bones are still growing at an area of the bone called the growth plate. If the fracture affected the growth plate, a specialist may be needed. Injuries to the growth plate will need to be monitored to make sure the bone can continue to grow as expected.
Prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be needed to relieve discomfort and swelling.
Physical therapy or rehabilitation may be needed to improve range-of-motion and strengthen the forearm.
To help reduce your chance of a forearm fracture, take these steps:
To help reduce falling hazards at work and home, take these steps:
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Adult forearm fractures. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00584. Updated July 2011. Accessed August 30, 2017.
Distal radius fracture—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T902859/Distal-radius-fracture-emergency-management. Accessed August 30, 2017.
Preventing falls and related fractures. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/Fracture/prevent_falls.asp. Updated April 2015. Accessed August 30, 2017.
4/25/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114297/Buckle-fracture-of-distal-radius: Bruno MA, Weissman BN. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria for acute hand and wrist trauma. Available at: http://www.acr.org/~/media/ACR/Documents/AppCriteria/Diagnostic/AcuteHandAndWristTrauma.pdf. Updated 2013. Accessed September 25, 2014.
Last reviewed August 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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