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Health Information Center

Forearm Fracture

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Forearm Fracture

(Broken Arm; Radial Fracture; Ulnar Fracture)


A forearm fracture is a break in one or both bones of the forearm.

Forearm Fracture with Swelling.

Nucleus factsheet imagehttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=73107310si2282.jpgsi2282.jpgNULLjpgsi2282.jpgNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\si2282.jpgNULL9NULL2008-11-072543907310_11851Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


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:


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.


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





  • Adult forearm fractures. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/adult-forearm-fractures.
  • Distal radius fracture—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/distal-radius-fracture-emergency-management.


  • Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated:

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.