The two bones of the forearm are the radius and the ulna. A forearm fracture is the result of a severe trauma affecting one or both of these bones. Forearm fractures are one of the most common limb fractures reported in hospitals. Some of the common causes are listed below:
- Breaking a fall with an outstretched arm
- Direct trauma to the forearm
- Twisting the arm beyond its range of motion
Sometimes, the symptoms of a broken forearm may be subtle. However, in most cases, a forearm fracture is excruciatingly painful. Here are some symptoms that you should look out for if you have been exposed to any of the above mentioned conditions:
- Pain and swelling in the forearm
- Difficulty moving or rotating the arm
- Deformity near the wrist or elbow
The following are some of the most common forearm injuries:
Greenstick fracture: This is common in children and occurs when either the radius or the ulna is completely fractured. Children’s bones heal quickly, so it is important to seek medical attention the moment your child fractures his or her forearm to ensure that the bone is set properly.
Nightstick fracture: In this type of injury, the ulna is fractured. It usually occurs as a result of a direct blow to the forearm.
Radial shaft injury: This is also known as a Gallaeazzi fracture. This type of fracture is an isolated one that happens to a third of the radius bone. It often occurs as a result of indirect trauma while the wrist is pronated.
Monteggia injury: This is an isolated fracture that occurs when a third of the ulna bone is broken and the radial head is dislocated. This type of injury is often caused by trauma to the arm while the elbow is pronated and extended.
Although forearm fractures occur as a result of trauma, there are certain health conditions that predispose some individuals to these fractures. Age, poor nutrition, congenital bone conditions, and participation in contact sports are all factors that contribute to the likelihood of forearm fractures.
After a forearm fracture has been diagnosed, depending on the severity of the fracture, treatment can involve anything from shifting the bone back in place to surgery. During the healing process, it is important to keep the arm immobilized so that the bone can heal properly. This is done with the help of a cast or splint. After the bones have healed and most of the pain is gone, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to assist you in regaining mobility in your injured arm.