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Arm Strain, Forearm
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Health Tip

Home :: Arm Strain, Forearm

Arm Strain, Forearm

Injury to the muscles or tendons connected to the bones in the lower arm. Forearm strain is common because of the many tendons that glide together in the same or separate sheaths. Muscles, tendons and bones comprise units. These units stabilize the elbow and wrist joints and allow their motion. A strain occurs at the weakest part of a unit. Strains are of 3 types:.

  • Mild (Grade I)-Slightly pulled muscle without tearing of muscle or tendon fibers. There is no loss of strength.
  • Moderate (Grade 11)- Tearing of fibers in a muscle, tendon or at the attachment to bone. Strength is diminished.
  • Severe (Grade III)-Rupture of the muscle-tendon-bone attachment with separation of fibers. Severe strain requires surgical repair. Chronic strains are caused by overuse. Acute strains are caused by direct injury or overstress.

BODY PARTS INVOLVED

  • Muscles and tendons of the forearm.
  • Ulna and radius, the bones attached to lower-arm muscles and tendons.
  • Soft tissue surrounding the strain including nerves, periosteum (covering to bone), blood vessels and lymph vessels

Causes

  • Prolonged overuse of muscle-tendon units in the forearm and wrist.
  • Single violent injury or force applied to the lower arm.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain when moving or stretching the forearm.
  • Muscle spasm in the forearm.
  • Swelling over the injury.
  • Loss of strength (moderate or severe strain).
  • Crepitation ("crackling") feeling and sound when the injured area is pressed with fingers.
  • Calcification of the muscle or tendon (visible with X-rays).
  • Inflammation of the sheath covering the tendon.

Treatment

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

If casts or splints are necessary:

  • Keep fingers free and exercise them frequently.
  • Begin daily rehabilitation exercises when casts or splints are no longer needed. Use ice massage for 10 minutes prior to exercise.
  • Use ice massage 3 or 4 times a day for 15 minutes at a time. 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 softball.
  • After the first 24 hours, apply heat instead of ice, if it feels better. Use heat lamps, hot soaks, hot showers, heating pads, or heat liniments and ointments.
  • Take whirlpool treatments, if available.
  • Wrap the injured forearm with an elasticized bandage between treatments.
  • Begin daily rehabilitation exercises when supportive wrapping is no longer needed. Use ice massage for 10 minutes prior to exercise.
  • Massage gently and often to provide comfort and decrease swelling.

Home Diet

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
  • Participate in a strengthening and conditioning program appropriate for your sport.
  • Warm up before practice or competition. Decrease repetitive forearm and hand movements when pain or soreness begins.
  • Use proper protective equipment.

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