Home
/
Services & Conditions
/
Broken Arm

Broken Arm

Definition

A forearm fracture is a break in one or both bones of the forearm.

The forearm consists of 2 bones:

  • Radius—the smaller of the 2 bones, runs along the thumb side of the arm
  • Ulna—the larger of the 2 bones, runs along the little finger side of the arm
Forearm Fracture with Swelling
Nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

A forearm fracture is caused by trauma to the bone. Trauma may include:

  • Fall on an outstretched arm
  • Fall directly on the forearm
  • Direct blow to the forearm
  • Twisting the arm beyond the elbow’s normal range of motion

Risk Factors

Forearm fracture is more common in older adults.

Factors that may increase the risk of forearm fracture include:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Certain diseases or conditions that result in bone or mineral loss, such as abnormal or absent menstrual cycles, or post- menopause
  • Certain diseases and conditions that weaken bones, such as tumors or cysts
  • Poor nutrition
  • Certain congenital bone conditions
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Participating in contact sports
  • Violence

Symptoms

A forearm fracture may cause:

  • Pain, often severe
  • Tenderness, swelling, and bruising around the injury
  • Decreased range of motion
  • A lump or visible deformity over the fracture site

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms, your physical activity, and how the injury occurred. The injured area will be examined.

Imaging tests assess the bones, surrounding structures, and soft tissues. This can be done with:

  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan

Treatment

Proper treatment can prevent long-term complications or problems with the forearm. Treatment will depend on how serious the fracture is, but may include:

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of a forearm fracture, take these steps:

  • Do not put yourself at risk for trauma to the bone.
  • Always wear a seatbelt when driving or riding in a car.
  • Do weight-bearing and strengthening exercises regularly to build strong bones.
  • Wear proper padding and safety equipment when participating in sports or activities.

To help reduce falling hazards at work and home, take these steps:

  • Clean spills and slippery areas right away.
  • Remove tripping hazards such as loose cords, rugs, and clutter.
  • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and shower.
  • Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower or tub.
  • Put in handrails on both sides of stairways.
  • Walk only in well-lit rooms, stairs, and halls.
  • Keep flashlights on hand in case of a power outage.
Close

Share this page with a friend