Adult Forearm Fractures

Las Vegas’ Orthopedic Sports Injury Specialists

What are Forearm Fractures?

The forearm comprises two bones, namely, the radius and ulna. The primary function of your forearm is rotation, i.e., the ability to turn your palm up and down. The forearm fracture affects the ability to rotate your arm and bend and straighten the wrist and elbow. Breaking the radius or ulna in the middle of the bone requires a strong force and is most commonly seen in adults. In most cases, both bones are broken during a forearm fracture.

Causes of Adult Forearm Fractures

The forearm bones can break in many ways. The bones can crack slightly or can break into many pieces. Forearm fractures are generally due to automobile accidents, direct blow on the forearm, or fall on an outstretched arm during sports, climbing stairs, etc.

Symptoms of Adult Forearm Fractures

The symptoms of a forearm fracture include intense pain in the arm, bruising, and swelling. Your fractured forearm may appear bent and shorter compared to your other arm. You may experience numbness or weakness in the fingers and wrist. You may be unable to rotate your arm. Sometimes, a broken bone sticks out through the skin, or the wound penetrates the fractured bone.

Diagnosis of Adult Forearm Fractures

Your doctor will review your medical history and perform a physical examination by feeling your arm thoroughly to determine tenderness. You may be asked to get an X-ray to determine displaced or broken bones.

Treatments for Adult Forearm Fractures

If you have a forearm fracture, you will be immediately rushed to the emergency room for treatment. Treatment of forearm fractures aims at restoring broken bones and preventing them from moving out of place until they are completely healed.

Non-surgical Treatments for Adult Forearm Fractures

If only one bone is broken and is not out of place, your doctor might treat it with a cast or brace and provide a sling to keep your arm in position. Your doctor will closely monitor the healing of the fracture. If the fracture shifts in place, you may be advised to undergo surgery to fix the bones back together.

Surgical Treatments for Adult Forearm Fractures

When both forearm bones are broken, surgery is usually required. During surgery, the cuts from the injury will be cleaned, and the bone fragments will be repositioned into their normal alignment. They are held together with screws and metal plates attached to the outer surface of the bone. The incision is sutured firmly, and a sling is provided to facilitate healing.

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