It won’t be wrong to say that traumatic injuries are unexpected. You never know when an accident would occur or even a slight fall could cause a serious fracture. Here, in this post, we are going to discuss key aspects of forearm fracture along with a brief of how it can be treated.
Our forearm has two bones, Radius, and Ulna. In case of fracture, either one or both bones could suffer injuries. The extent of the fracture and the patient’s condition will depend upon the type of treatment given. There could be several reasons for forearm fracture including an accident from a vehicle, direct impact of the arm from a solid object, or even a fall on the ground or from stairs due to imbalance.
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When we talk about the treatment of forearm fracture, then it could be operative and non-operative. The decision of choosing the treatment procedure will solely depend upon the patient’s condition. It is seen that in most cases, operative treatment is preferred by orthopedics. During operative procedures, various orthopedic implants could be used depending upon the condition. For example, titanium elastic nails and a locking compression plate could be used to fix diaphyseal fractures of the forearm.
Let us now see about forearm fracture in detail.
What are forearm fractures?
As now you know that our forearm has two bones named Radius and Ulna. The position of Radius is on the thumb side whereas Ulna is present on the little finger side. The fracture of the forearm could occur at different sites including:
Near the wrist (the distal end of the bone)
Middle of the forearm
Near the elbow (proximal end of the bone)
So, based on the type & degree of fracture, the surgeon will decide what will be the best way to fix it.
Types of Forearm Fractures
In case of forearm fractures, either one or both bones could get broken. It is also seen in forearm fractures that both bones suffer injuries but at different places along with the joint injury at the wrist or elbow position. Based on this scenario, forearm fractures are classified into two types:
This is the condition where the fracture occurs between the mid-portion of the radius and the wrist. Besides this, Galeazzi’s fracture condition is also accompanied by the dislocation of the ulna at the wrist. Remember, the bone break could be complete or partial.
This type of fracture could occur when someone falls using his/her arm for protection. A stretched arm before hitting the ground could result in the breaking of a bone and the impact caused could dislocate the ulna. This condition is very painful.
This type of forearm fracture is common in children (peak age – 4-10 years) whereas the condition is rare in adults. Monteggia fracture can be defined as the condition where the ulnar shaft gets broken accompanied by the dislocation of the radial head. Such type of fracture occurs when someone falls on an outstretched hand.
The Treatment Procedure
The treatment of forearm fracture can be done by surgical method or non-surgical method. Let us see which method could be used when.
Stable and isolated fractures of the ulna can be treated with non-operative procedures. Application of cast for about four to six weeks could fix the bone. But during this period, certain guidelines told by the doctor must be followed and the most common one is to avoid lifting weight.
Before deciding to remove the cast, the doctor will closely monitor the progress with X-ray reports. Even after the cast removal, the patient will be required to do regular exercise to bring back full range of motion.
A surgical method for the treatment of forearm fracture is suggested in most cases. During the surgical procedure, one or two incisions are made and fractured bones are held using a locking plate for hand fracture and screws. The locking compression plate is known to be very useful in the treatment of diaphyseal fractures of the forearm.
Besides locking plates & screws, titanium elastic nails are also used for the treatment of forearm fractures. The use of a titanium elastic nailing system will depend upon the location of the fracture and the surgeon’s preference. According to the type of fracture, elastic nails are either used antegrade or retrograde.
The Bottom Line
Forearm fractures are more common in children and the method used by orthopedician for their treatment will totally depend upon the seriousness of the condition. The goal of creating this post was to give you a brief idea of forearm fracture and its types, along with the methods used for the treatment. We hope that our goal has been fulfilled and you got what you were looking for.
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