Adult Forearm Fractures: Cause & Treatments
Our forearm is connected by two bones, the radius and ulna. In an event of a forearm fracture, both of the bones are often broken. The location of the fracture can be in several areas. It can appear at the wrist area, middle of forearm or nearer to the elbow. The main function of the forearm is to facilitate rotation of the wrist. This rotation movement allows us to turn our palms upwards or downwards. A forearm fracture will severely limit the amount of work we can do.
Fractures are usually caused by a sudden stress acting on it that is beyond the usual limit. In the case of forearm fractures, there are 3 main situations that can cause such an injury – a sudden blow to the forearm, a sudden compression to the forearm or over rotation of the forearm. The ulna is the bone that is often broken by the above scenarios. Twisting fractures can also occur due to high impact sports or fall from heights landing on an outstretched arm. There will also be damages and injuries to the soft tissues such as the muscles and tendons.
The first step would be a first aid evaluation by a medical professional. The fractured arm will be immobilized using a splint or sling. An isolated fracture can be easily treated using this method and it will heal on its own. Realignment surgery is not necessary if there are no mis-aligned bones or protruding bones.
Surgical – Internal fixation
In serious cases, surgery will be required in order to promote healing and recovery. A fixation surgery will be carried out to realign and fix the fracture bones together. The bones will be connected using metal plates and screws and this will allow early recovery of movement, reducing the chances of bone resorption. A cast is required after surgery as well to add weight to the bone.
Surgical – External fixation
In cases where there is the presence of open wounds or damages to the skin, internal fixation is not recommended due to the chances of further injuries. Thus, external fixation is preferred. As the name suggests, external fixation involves fixing screws on the outside of the body. Screws will be attached around the fracture site using a metal bar. This metal bar acts as a stabilizing frame to hold the bone in proper position until it heals on its own.