Arm fractures are generally the result of a direct blow to the forearm, an automobile accident, or a fall onto an outstretched arm while playing sports, climbing stairs, and other activities.
The two bones of the forearm are the radius (on the thumb side) and ulna (on the little-finger side). Fractures can occur near the wrist, near the elbow, or in the middle of the forearm. In most injuries, both bones are broken.
A fracture can cause the bone to crack slightly or break into fragments. The fracture may be “open” (the bone protrudes through the skin), or “closed” (the broken bone does not pierce the skin).
Arm fractures can affect your ability to turn or rotate the arm, as well as the ability to bend or straighten the wrist or elbow. Other common symptoms include:
- Intense sudden pain in the arm
- Bruising or discoloration of the skin
- Pain when attempting to move the arm, elbow or wrist
- Numbness or weakness in the fingers and wrist
- Deformed forearm, wrist or elbow
If you suspect that you or your child may have an arm fracture, seek medical attention immediately. Your physician at Lancaster Orthopedic Group will examine the arm and order X-rays to determine the severity of the fracture and whether the bones are displaced.
If the bones are not displaced, treatment may involve a cast or brace and a sling to keep the arm immobilized while it heals. Surgery is usually required to realign the bones when both forearm bones are broken or when the bone is broken into several pieces.