(Broken Arm; Radial Fracture; Ulnar Fracture)
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
A forearm fracture is a break in one or both bones of the forearm.
This injury is caused by trauma from:
Things that may raise the risk of this injury are:
A forearm fracture may cause:
The doctor will ask about symptoms, past health, and injury. An exam will be done that focuses on your arm. Images may be taken of the arm. This can be done with:
How it is treated depends on whether the injury is mild or severe. Mild fractures may take 4 to 6 weeks, more severe fractures can take up to 12 weeks.
Bones Are In Place
A fracture can be a break or a small split in the bone. The bone may not break into separate pieces. A splint or cast will help to support the bone to keep the break from getting worse. Ice and medicine will help to manage pain and swelling.
Some fractures can cause pieces of bone to come apart. There may also be more than one break in the bone. More steps will be needed to help this type of fracture. These pieces will need to be put back into place in 1 of 2 ways:
Physical or occupational therapy may be needed to regain movement after the bones heal. Movement of the hands may be affected by severe injuries.
Children's bones have growth plates that let bones grow and harden with age. A child with this type of fracture will need to be checked over time to make sure the bone heals the right way and keeps growing.
Most fractures are due to accidents. Healthy bones and muscles may prevent injury. This may be done through diet and exercise.
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Adult forearm fractures. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed September 25, 2020.
Distal radius fracture—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/distal-radius-fracture-emergency-management. Accessed September 25, 2020.
Niver GE, Ilyas AM. Carpal tunnel syndrome after distal radius fracture. Orthop Clin North Am. 2012 Oct;43(4):521-527.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated: 8/25/2020
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
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.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.