How Long Does A Forearm Fracture Take To Heal?

by | Jan 15, 2024

A forearm fracture means you’ve got a break in one or both of the bones in your forearm – the radius and ulna. These bones are like a dynamic duo, working together to help you do everything from high-fiving your friend to carrying groceries.
A fracture in your forearm can occur due to a fall, a sudden impact, or maybe a little too much enthusiasm during that weekend’s basketball game. Sometimes, life just throws a curveball, and your forearm takes the hit. However, with patience, care, and a few autographs on your cast, you will return to your routine.

Types of Forearm Fractures

Forearm fractures happen as a single or combined fracture. Where either one or both bones fracture. The two types of forearm fractures include:

  • Galeazzi Fracture: Ulna is the bone located below the radius. When a displaced fracture causes the ulna to dislocate at the wrist. This is exactly where the ulna and radius meet.
  • Monteggia Fracture: Sometimes, a fracture in the ulna and the upper head of the radius become dislocated at the elbow. It is known as Monteggia fracture.

Forearm Fracture Treatment

The treatment of forearm fracture can be classified as:

  • Non-surgical Treatments
    An isolated and uncomplicated fracture in the ulna can be fixed with a cast. The patient has to wear it for around 4-6 weeks. Your doctor will keenly monitor your healing progress. He can use the X-rays to ensure correct bone healing. You cannot move your arm freely or lift even minor weights.
    Once the cast is removed, your physician will ensure that you recover your routine motion range with the help of particular exercises. You can also try lifting adequate weights to check the healing progression.
  • Surgical Treatments
    The majority of the forearm fractures require surgery. The surgery is carried out via one or two cuts at various levels and sides. To hold the dislocated ones back in place, iron plates and screws are used. For enhanced safety, your forearm is put in a short splint. Your movement options remain limited till six months after surgery.

Healing Time

The healing time for forearm fractures can vary depending on several factors, such as the type and location of the fracture, the age and entire health condition, and the treatment provided. Generally, the healing process for forearm fractures can take several weeks to months.

  • Simple Fractures: Simple and well-aligned fractures without significant displacement can take around 6 to 8 weeks to heal.
  • Complex Fractures: More complex fractures, such as those including multiple breaks requiring surgical intervention, can take longer to heal. The healing process can sometimes extend to 8-12 weeks or more.
  • Surgical Intervention: If surgery is required to realign the bones and balance the fracture, the start of the recovery period can cause immobilization with a cast or splint, followed by physical therapy. Full recovery can take several months.
  • Compliance with Treatment: Following the prescribed treatment plan, including rest, immobilization, physical therapy, and medications, is important for effective healing. Failure to follow the suggested treatment can increase your recovery time.

Concluding Thoughts

Forearm fractures are quite common and usually take 3-6 months to heal under the professional guidance of our board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Luo, at Randy Y. Luo. Our doctor has expertise in all the latest orthopedic and hand surgeries. Call us at (713) 794-3307 to schedule an appointment.

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