Forearm Fracture

Your child has a broken or fractured forearm. The forearm is the part of the arm between the elbow and the wrist.

Fractured Forearm
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The forearm is between the elbow and the wrist. In a forearm fracture, either the radius, ulna or both may be broken.

Your child may or may not have the bone set (put back in the proper position) in the Emergency Department.

Your child will need a cast

For the bone to heal, your child will need a cast and may also need a sling. How long your child needs the cast depends on your child's age and rate of healing. Many children wear the cast for 4 to 8 weeks.

The cast should remain dry. Additional care instruction may be given by the hospital staff who examined the arm and put on the cast.  Hospital staff will also tell you when to worry and what to look for that might indicate a problem with the cast or arm.

Follow-up appointments at the fracture clinic

Your child should come to the fracture clinic for a follow-up appointment 7 to 10 days after the injury. At this appointment, your child will have X-rays to make sure the position of the bones has not changed.

Write the date and time of the first appointment here:

 

Two weeks after the injury, bring your child back for another X-ray.

Write the date and time of the second appointment here:

 

Write the name of the doctor or nurse at the fracture clinic here:

Your child's cast will not be changed unless it is absolutely necessary.

Removing the cast at the fracture clinic

Your child will need another appointment after 3 to 4 weeks, meaning 6 to 8 weeks after the original injury. At this appointment, your child's cast will be removed and another X-ray will be taken.

Write the date and time of this appointment here:

At home after the cast is removed

After the cast comes off, your child's skin may be dry and itchy and may look dirty. Use warm water and soap to gently wash the skin and cream to moisturize it.

Exercise makes the arm stronger

When the cast is off, your child can start moving the forearm. At first, the wrist and elbow may be stiff but movement will get better with time and activity.

Your child's arm may be smaller and feel weaker than the other arm. While the arm is in a cast, the muscles get thin from not being used. The muscles will get bigger and stronger as your child goes back to normal activities.

Avoid contact sports

Your child should avoid high-impact, contact sports for 4 to 6 weeks after taking off the cast. Your child will gradually gain confidence in the arm and will return to regular activities.

If you have any concerns, contact your family doctor or the Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) at the fracture clinic.

Key points

  • Your child needs a cast to heal a fractured or broken forearm. The cast may have to stay on for 6 to 8 weeks.
  • Your child should come to a follow-up clinic about 1 week and 2 weeks after the cast was put on.
  • Your child will need to avoid high-impact activities after the cast is taken off.

Preeti Grewal, RN, MN, APN

William Cole, MBBS, MSc, PhD, FRACS, FRCSC

11/6/2009

 





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