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Home :: Arm Fracture, Forearm

Arm Fracture, Forearm

A complete or incomplete break in one or both bones of the forearm (the radius and the ulna).

BODY PARTS INVOLVED

  • Ulna and radius bones.
  • Elbow and wrist joints.
  • Soft tissue around the fracture site, including nerves, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels.

Causes

Direct blow or indirect stress to the bone. Indirect stress may be caused by twisting or violent muscle contraction.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Severe arm pain at the time of injury.
  • Swelling of soft tissue around the fracture.
  • Visible deformity if the fracture is complete and the bone fragments separate enough to distort normal arm contours. Tenderness to the touch.
  • Numbness and coldness in the lower arm and hand if the blood supply is impaired.

Treatment

Follow your doctor's instructions. These instructions are supplemental.

  • Immobilization will be necessary. A rigid cast or plaster splints will be placed around the to immobilize the elbow and wrist.
  • After 48 hours, localized heat promotes healing by increasing blood circulation in the injured area. Use a heat lamp or heating pads so heat can penetrate the cast.
  • After the cast is removed, use frequent ice massage. Fill a large Styrofoam cup with water and freeze.tear a small amount of foam from the top so ice protrudes. Massage firmly over the injured area in a circle about the size of a baseball. Do this for 15 minutes at a time, 3 or 4 times a day.
  • Apply heat instead of ice if it feels better. Use heat lamps, hot soaks, hot showers, heating pads, or heat liniments or ointments.
  • Take whirlpool treatments, if available.

Home Diet

  • Drink only water before manipulation or surgery to treat the fracture. Solid food in your stomach makes vomiting while under anesthesia more hazardous.
  • During recovery, eat a well-balanced diet that includes extra protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk and eggs. Increase fiber and fluid intake to prevent constipation that may result from decreased activity.
Prevention
  • Build your strength with a good conditioning program before beginning regular athletic practice or competition. Increased muscle mass helps protect bones and underlying tissue.
  • If you have had a previous arm injury, use padded arm splints when competing in contact sports.

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