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Forearm Fracture, Shaft/Distal, Emergency Medicine

Reviewed 06/2017



  • Forearm shaft fractures (single or paired) are often displaced by contraction of arm muscles; sometimes associated with concurrent dislocations:

    • Galeazzi fracture:

      • Distal radius fractu...


Signs and Symptoms

  • Deformity

  • Pain, edema, erythema


  • Associated events and concurrent injuries

  • Past history of bone disease or old fractures

  • History of repetitive stress of forearm movement

  • O...



  • All suspected forearm fractures should be elevated, splinted, and immobilized, including elbow and wrist joints.

  • All open fractures should be wrapped with sterile dressing before ...



Admission Criteria

  • Open fractures

  • Fractures with compartment syndrome or neurovascular compromise

  • Fractures needing immediate operative management or general anesthesia for reduction

  • ...

Pearls and Pitfalls

  • Missed 2nd fracture

  • Missed concurrent dislocation or subluxation

  • Impending compartment syndrome

Additional Reading

  • Black  WS, Becker  JA. Common forearm fractures in adults. Am Fam Physician.  2009;80(10):1096–1102.

  • Handoll  HH, Pearce  P. Interventions for isolated diaphyseal fractures of t...



  • 813.23 Closed fracture of shaft of radius with ulna

  • 813.44 Closed fracture of lower end of radius with ulna

  • 813.80 Closed fracture of unspecified part of forearm

  • 813.42 Other closed fractures o...

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