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(Broken Arm; Radial Fracture; Ulnar Fracture)
- Radius—the smaller of the two bones, runs along the thumb side of your arm
- Ulna—the larger of the two bones, runs along the little finger side of your arm
|Forearm Fracture with Swelling|
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- 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
- Advanced age
- 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
- Pain, often severe
- Tenderness, swelling, and bruising around the injury
- Decreased range of motion
- A lump or visible deformity over the fracture site
- Without surgery—you will have anesthesia to decrease pain while the doctor moves the pieces back into place
- With surgery—pins, screws, plates, or wires may be needed to reconnect the pieces and hold them in place
Rest and Recovery
- 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.
- 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
OrthoInfo.org—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.orthoinfo.org
SportsMed.org—American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
Adult forearm fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00584. Updated July 2011. Accessed September 16, 2013.
Distal radius fracture. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 24, 2013. Accessed September 16, 2013.
Preventing falls and related fractures. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Bone/Osteoporosis/Fracture/prevent%5Ffalls.asp. Updated January 2012. Accessed September 16, 2013.
4/25/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Bruno MA, Weissman BN. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria for acute hand and wrist trauma. Available at: http://www.acr.org/~/media/ACR/Documents/AppCriteria/Diagnostic/AcuteHandAndWristTrauma.pdf. Updated 2013. Accessed 4/25/2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 00/42/2014