The best treatment for your forearm fracture depend on a number of factors, including age, past and present health, the severity of the fracture and history with other medications and treatments. Forearm fracture, which is a complete or partial break in one or both of the two bones in the forearm, occurs most commonly in children and the elderly.
Forearm Fracture Diagnosis
A forearm fracture can cause significant pain and visible deformity. If you have been involved in some sort of trauma and believe your forearm may be injured, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. In order to diagnose your injury, your doctor will ask you questions about past medical history and the recent trauma (if any), as well as perform a physical exam. Then, one of the following tests will be done to determine the extent of the injury:
Nonsurgical Treatment for Forearm Fractures
In the majority of forearm fracture cases, surgery is required to ensure that both of the main bones, the radius and the ulna, return to normal function. However, most forearm fractures in children as well as adult forearm fractures that involve only the Ulna may be treated without surgery. These include immobilizing the arm with a cast or splint. If necessary, the doctor will guide the bones to realignment prior to placing the forearm in a cast.
Surgery for Forearm Fractures
In most cases, a forearm fracture necessitates surgery. The aim of most forearm fracture surgeries is to hold both bones in place so that they return to normal function. Without anatomic alignment of the radius and ulna, forearm rotation will be severely limited. . The vast majority of forearm fractures are treated in one of the following ways:
Forearm Fracture Research
Much of the research surrounding forearm fractures has to do with children, as they are the ones who experience this type of fracture most often. One of the concerns is treating this oddly shaped bone as it continues to grow. Because surgery is needed in many cases to properly heal this bone, placing plates and screws on a growing body can lead to other issues.
Recently, a study was conducted by Dirk W. Summerfeldt, MD in Hamburg, Germany. This study focused on the idea that in children, using an elastic IM nail to repair the bone may allow the bone to remain stable, but also give it room to grow naturally. These were only done in distal fractures, or the fractures surrounding the lower part of the forearm. In the study, doctors calculated whether or not the elastic nails were a better fit for the child. They tested 122 children and in the end, they had successful repair without complications in all but three cases. This number is higher than the success rate without complications using more traditional approaches for correcting distal fractures in children.
The forearm contains two bones, making repair more complex. As research on treatments continues to advance, children are expected to be able to regain their mobility faster and have fewer complications as a result of surgery.
As research on treatment methods is ongoing, it is a good idea for your conversation about it with your doctor to be ongoing as well.
The multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic experts at North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute's Trauma Services in New York performs Forearm Fracture surgery as well as a broad range of nonsurgical and surgical treatments for conditions that affect the bones.
To learn more about forearm fractures, visit the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).