Forearm Fracture



A forearm fracture is caused by trauma from:

  • A fall on an outstretched hand
  • A direct blow to the forearm
  • An object in the air that hits the forearm
  • A motor vehicle accident

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of a forearm fracture are:

  • Playing contact sports
  • Health problems that weaken bones, such as osteoporosis
  • Health problems that result in falls, such as weak muscles



A forearm fracture may cause:

  • Pain that is worse when moving the arm
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Problems moving the arm
  • A change in the way the arm looks


The doctor will ask about symptoms, past health, and how the injury happened. An exam will be done that focuses on the arm.

Pictures may be taken of the arm. This can be done with:

  • X-ray
  • MRI scan
  • CT scan



Mild fractures may take 4 to 6 weeks to heal, more severe fractures can take up to 12 weeks. The goal of treatment is to help the bones heal properly to prevent long term problems.

Putting Bones Back in Place

Some fractures may cause pieces of bone to come apart. The pieces of bone will need to be put back into place so it will heal properly. The doctor may do this through either of the following:

  • Carefully moving the bones and using tension to align them. Anesthesia will be given help to manage pain.
  • Surgery to reconnect bone sections with pins, screws, plates, or a rod. These devices will also hold the bone in place as it heals.


Support for all fractures can include:

  • Medicine to ease pain and swelling
  • A splint, brace, or cast to support the bones as they heal
  • Exercises to help with strength, flexibility, and range of motion

Some fractures can damage the growth plate in children. Follow up tests will be done to make sure the bone is growing as it should.


Most fractures are due to accidents. Healthy bones and muscles may prevent injury. This may be done through diet and exercise.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.