• Monday May 25,2020

forearm fracture

Forearm fracture is one of the most common fractures and accounts for about every fifth bone fracture treated in Germany. But due to its frequency, the treatment methods are now very mature and experienced.

What is a forearm fracture?

A forearm fracture is when one of the two forearm bones, so either the ulna (Ulna) or the radius (radius), is severed by external influence. If necessary, both forearm bones can break at the same time. In doing so, the ulna located on the side of the little finger is far more likely to break because, unlike its counterpart on the thumb side, it is much more unstable.

Both ulna and spokes are among the long bones. That is, they are traversed by a continuous medullary cavity filled with bone marrow. In medicine, a forearm fracture is referred to as a distal radius or ulnar fracture.


In most cases, the cause of a forearm fracture is a fall in which the affected person attempts to cushion himself on the outstretched hand, and thus also on the forearm, thus shifting much of his own body weight to his narrow forearm bones.

These can no longer withstand the massive and sudden pressure and simply give way. A large number of breaches occur while practicing sports activities that often lead to falls such as football or cycling.

In addition, people with serious diseases of the bones, such as bone loss (osteoporosis), more prone to bone fractures and thus also to a forearm fracture.

Symptoms, complaints & signs

A fracture of the forearm is associated with symptoms that are unique and typical. A fracture is always associated with severe pain that can not be heard directly from the fracture. These severe pains can spread throughout the body in particularly severe cases. In many cases it also leads to a strong swelling, which can be recognized directly on the invoice.

Of course, in an existing fracture, the entire movement is significantly disturbed. Even small movements of the forearm cause severe pain. Even at rest, this pain persists. If there is an open fracture, the fracture can be seen with the naked eye.

Often it comes to a Hörbahrem crunching of the bones. Those who leave such a fracture without any treatment by a doctor who takes a great risk. The fracture may grow together incorrectly, causing permanent damage. However, if you decide to seek medical treatment, the symptoms that occur will improve quickly and within a very short time.

As a rule, a fracture of the forearm is always associated with clear symptoms that can often be self-diagnosed by the affected person. A visit to the doctor is essential to be able to improve the symptoms.

Diagnosis & History

The diagnosis of a forearm fracture is usually made quickly and can sometimes be made even by the person concerned, as it comes in most cases to a significant visualization of the broken bone in the form of a large, usually greatly swollen bulge in the forearm.

In addition, a malposition of the wrist occurs, which is connected via the approaches of the carpal bones with the bones of the forearm. Nevertheless, an X-ray of the affected forearm and the wrist is essential, on the one hand for accurate assessment of the severity and on the other hand for the exact localization of the fracture as well as the fundamental confirmation that such a exists.

A forearm fracture usually causes severe pain and severely restricts the motor skills of the forearm and hand. Thus, for example, the rotation of the forearm and the bending and stretching of the hand are hardly possible anymore.


Of course, a fracture of the forearm is also associated with complications that may occur later in the healing process. In general, a forearm fracture should definitely be treated by a doctor. As a rule, a forearm fracture is first surgically treated. Even during such an operation complications may occur in straightening the fractured bone.

In certain cases, the fracture must be fixed with a metal plate or several screws so that the fracture can grow together slowly and firmly. Normally, a forearm fracture in the further healing process is reinforced with a plaster. Such a plaster is used for stabilization, so that the broken bone remains well protected against any possible stress.

However, those who burden the arm during the healing process must expect a delayed or longer healing period. Under certain circumstances, the just recently coalesced bone can break again, so that the healing process starts all over again. A permanent rest helps to avoid possible complications.

If inexplicable and prolonged pain occurs, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. As a result, serious complications can be avoided or detected early and treated.

When should you go to the doctor?

In case of a forearm fracture, a doctor must be consulted promptly. If severe pain, swelling and immobilization of the forearm occur after an accident or fall, it may be due to a fracture. Immediately after the injury, the affected area should be cooled. An emergency physician must be informed about the accident, so that the appropriate treatment can be initiated immediately. If not treated, the rupture may increase and cause further discomfort. In general, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible after a break.

The physician can clarify the break through an examination and, if necessary, consult a suitable specialist. If an already treated forearm fracture continues to cause pain or other discomfort, the physician must be informed. Even with bleeding or swelling medical advice is needed. A forearm fracture is treated in the hospital. The first diagnosis can be made by the family doctor or an orthopedist. Persons who suffer repeated forearm fractures, should be examined in a specialist hospital. There may be osteoporosis or other disease of the bones that needs to be treated.

Treatment & Therapy

In the case of a forearm fracture, an operation is usually unavoidable. In addition, the location of the fracture determines both the form of treatment and the duration of regeneration. If there is a break near the shaft, ie at the transition from forearm to elbow and upper arm, the bone must first be directed (repositioned), ie brought back into its natural position.

Then the bone is fixed with the aid of screws and plates, which mostly consist of titanium or surgical steel. This form of treatment makes the subsequent wearing of a plaster cast superfluous and requires only a protective splint. For fractures near the wrist, however, the bone is often only straightened and then rested for a while by means of a plaster cast, so that it can grow together again.

It is not uncommon for fractured forearms to have accompanying fractures from other parts of the arm, such as the joints and ligaments. These must then be supplied separately.

To counteract a forearm fracture, it is advisable to avoid practicing sports that often lead to falls. Unlike other bones, you can not protect Elle and spoke with various protectors from impacts and injuries.


Fortunately, a forearm fracture happens quickly, but luckily it also heals quickly, as the diagnosis can be made quickly and the treatment methods are very efficient. As a result, you can do sports again just a short time after the accident - which usually happens during sports.


Postoperative treatment of the forearm fracture makes sense both following conservative and surgical therapy. Because the resistant titanium screws can tear out of the bone, a plaster is applied to immobilize the operated arm. The special dressing material hardens within a few minutes and provides a solid framework around the bone so that it can heal undisturbed.

It usually takes about six weeks to complete osteosynthesis. In most cases, the fingers can be moved freely despite the plaster cast, which reduces the restriction. Immediately after the operation, it is recommended to stay in the hospital for two days, as postoperative pain is possible.

After about ten to fourteen days, the doctor removes the surgical thread again. While the patient is still in the clinic, there is a thrombosis prophylaxis. After discharge from the hospital, she is usually no longer necessary. For the treatment of pain the person concerned receives analgesic and decongestant medicines.

In order to control the healing process of the affected forearm, a clinical examination and radiographs are made. Physiotherapy or occupational therapy are helpful in providing forearm flexibility. This is especially true after a prolonged immobilization of the arm with the plaster. Even with simple exercises, the muscles and joints can be gently mobilized again.

You can do that yourself

A forearm fracture usually heals quickly, provided that it is treated early and the patient complies with the guidelines of the treating physician. Recovery and rest contribute to recovery.

After the fracture has healed, the sport may begin again slowly. Affected persons can use physiotherapy or other measures to accelerate muscle healing. A break can also be treated by massages or by heat and cold therapies. Especially warm and cold compresses are considered an effective remedy for bone fractures. In consultation with the doctor, acupressure or acupuncture are also available. Forearm fracture continues to allow physical exercise. However, the affected arm should not be strained. An adapted diet provides the body with the necessary minerals and other substances that are essential for the rapid healing of a fracture.

If the forearm fracture continues to cause pain, the doctor must be informed. Maybe the nerves have been damaged or the fracture has not healed properly. In any case, a medical consultation is needed. If complaints also occur, the visit to a specialist clinic may also be indicated.

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