Forearm fractures in adults

Forearm fracture among adults usually involve damage to the radius and the ulna. The fractures can take place close to the wrist at the outermost endpoint of the bone, central region of the forearm or close to the elbow at the upper end.

Close look on forearm fractures

The bones in the forearm can be damaged in various ways. The bone might slightly crack or shatter into several pieces. The broken bone pieces might line up in a straight manner or move out of place.

In some instances, the bone breaks in a way that the fragments pierce through the skin or wound penetrates deep into the broken bone. These are categorized as an open fracture and necessitates immediate emergency care due to the high risk for infection.

Since a strong force is needed to damage the radius or ulna in the middle part of the bone, it is common among adults to end up with both bones broken during an injury. If only one bone is damaged, usually the ulna, it is brought about by a direct blow to the exterior part of the arm if raised as a self-defensive measure.

What are the possible causes?

  • Direct strike or blow
  • Falling on an extended arm usually from a height or while playing sports
  • Vehicular accidents
    Forearm fractures

    Forearm fractures typically cause immediate pain. Since both bones are involved, forearm fractures often result to evident deformity.

What are the indications?

Forearm fractures typically cause immediate pain. Since both bones are involved, forearm fractures often result to evident deformity. In most cases, the forearm might appear shorter than the other arm. The individual will require added support for the injured arm using the other hand.

Other indications include the following:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Inability to rotate the arm
  • Weakness or numbness in the wrist or fingers (rare)

Treatment

The management for fractures is aimed on a basic rule – the broken pieces should be restored back into position and prevented from moving out of place until healed. Since the ulna and radius rely on both for support, it is vital that they are appropriately stabilized. In case the bones are not properly aligned during the healing process, it can result to future issues with elbow and wrist movement.

In most cases of forearm fractures among adults, surgery is required to ensure that the bones are stabilized and aligned for proper healing.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on forearm fractures is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage fractures including on the forearm, register for a first aid and CPR course with Vancouver First Aid.

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