Fractured forearms: ulna and radius - Wrist, hand and finger injuries

Forearm fractures occur when one or both of the bones in the forearm get partially or completely broken; these bones are known as the ulna and the radius.

Causes of ulna and radius fractures

Most commonly, these kinds of fractures are caused by car accidents, sports injuries, trips or falls and fighting; these cause extreme pressure on the bones and surrounding tissue and cause the bone to break.

Symptoms of ulna and radius fractures

Common symptoms include severe pain around the affected bone, a restricted range of movement, bruising and swelling. Pain may also radiate to other parts of the arm such as the wrist and elbow.

Treating ulna and radius fractures

If both bones are broken, the patient will almost certainly need surgical treatment. If only one bone is broken, surgery may still be necessary; this will depend on the severity of the fracture. If the fracture is less serious the arm will usually be immobilised to allow it time to rest and recover. Medication to control pain and reduce swelling will also aid recovery. Once the healing process has begun, physiotherapy will often be used to strengthen the bones and surrounding muscles and improve the range of movement in the arm. During the recovery process, the range of movement in the affected arm may be very limited but this should improve over the course of time.

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