The forearm is made up of two bones, the radius and the ulna. The ulna spans from the wrist to the elbow and is located on the "pinky side" of the forearm. Although it is more common for both bones to be broken from a forearm injury, when only one bone is broken, it is typically the ulna, possibly resulting from a direct blow to the outside of the arm. A fractured ulna may also be caused by a fall, a sports-related injury, or a motor vehicle accident. Forearm fractures can affect the ability to rotate the arm, as well as bend and straighten the wrist and elbow.
Symptoms of an Ulna Fracture
Symptoms of a fractured ulna may include immediate pain, as well as:
- Numbness or weakness in the fingers or wrist
The forearm may look visibly bent or deformed and the injured individual may be unable to move the forearm.
Diagnosis of an Ulna Fracture
An ulna fracture is diagnosed through a physical examination and diagnostic imaging tests that can capture images of the bone. X-rays are performed to determine the precise type and location of the fracture, which can help the doctor determine an effective treatment plan.
Treatment of an Ulna Fracture
Treatment for an ulna fracture commonly involves immobilizing the forearm in a cast or brace for several weeks in order to promote proper healing. Medication may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and treat pain. Severely displaced fractures that are classified as unstable may require surgical stabilization to make sure the arm heals properly. Fixation devices including rods, wires, or screws, may be surgically implanted to maintain proper position of the bones during healing. In addition, a physical therapy program can help to restore muscle strength, range of motion and flexibility.