A Broken Arm Warrants Prompt Medical Attention – Seek Forearm Fracture Treatment in Lafayette, LA
The forearm is made up of two bones: the ulna and radius. The ulna is a long bone that extends from the inner (medial) side of the elbow to the pinky side of the wrist. The radius runs parallel to the ulna, extending from the outer (lateral) side of the elbow to the thumb side of the wrist.
A forearm fracture is a crack or break in the ulna or radius or both. Commonly referred to as a broken arm, this type of injury can result from direct trauma, such as a blow to the lower arm or wrist, or indirect trauma, such as a fall onto an outstretched hand.
What are the symptoms of a broken arm?
Usually, a forearm fracture causes immediate pain. The affected arm may appear to be shorter than the other arm or bent at an awkward angle. Many people instinctively respond by supporting the injured arm with their other hand.
Other symptoms of a forearm fracture include:
- An inability to rotate the arm
- Numbness or weakness in the wrist, hand, or fingers
If you think you might have a forearm fracture, you should see a physician right away. In Lafayette, Louisiana, you are welcome to consult with Peter D. Vizzi, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist. Until you are able to see Dr. Vizzi, it is important to stabilize your injury. You can create a makeshift sling from a towel, or create a makeshift splint from a rolled-up newspaper, which you can tape along the swollen area of your arm.
How is a forearm fracture treated?
The ulna and radius can break in several ways, and treatment for a forearm fracture can vary depending on the nature of the injury. For instance, a bone may crack slightly or shatter into several pieces, and the broken pieces may remain in place or shift out of alignment. The goal of treatment is to line up and stabilize the bones to promote successful healing.
Nondisplaced forearm fractures
To address a nondisplaced forearm fracture, which involves a single broken bone that has not shifted out of position, Dr. Vizzi may apply a brace or cast, then periodically monitor the injury with X-rays to confirm that the bone is healing properly.
Displaced forearm fractures
To address a displaced forearm fracture, Dr. Vizzi may perform a nonsurgical reduction procedure to move the broken bone back into its proper position. Alternatively, if both the ulna and radius are affected or a bone has punctured the skin or shattered into many pieces, Dr. Vizzi may discuss surgery to reposition the bones and place metal screws or plates to hold them in place as they mend. After the injury is reduced and stabilized, Dr. Vizzi will typically apply a splint or cast and sling to immobilize the arm during the healing process.
To control pain and swelling, medications and ice applications may be used as needed. Because motion is essential to prevent stiffness and muscle weakness, a progressive exercise program targeting the elbow, forearm, and wrist is usually started as soon as possible (typically within a few weeks after the broken bone is stabilized).
If you’ve injured your forearm and suspect a fracture, contact Dr. Vizzi’s office in Lafayette, LA, to schedule an appointment today.