Pediatric Forearm Fracture Treatment Specialist Q&A
A pediatric forearm fracture is a break in one or both forearm bones. This type of fracture is particularly common in children due to their active lifestyles and a tendency for physical activities. Symptoms may include extreme pain, swelling, bruising, and trouble moving or utilizing the affected arm. Immediate medical attention is essential to determining an accurate diagnosis and suitable treatment. If you or a loved one would like to know more about pediatric forearm fractures, their cause and treatment, contact Florida Hand Center today! For more information, contact us or request an appointment online. We have convenient locations in Fort Myers, FL, and Port Charlotte, FL.
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Broken bones, or fractures, are among the most common of childhood injuries, and forearm fractures account for more than 40% of them. The forearm, the lower part of the arm between the wrist and the elbow, is made up of two bones: the radius and the ulna. Fractures of the forearm often occur when children are just being children – playing on the playground or participating in sports. They love to run, skip, hop, jump and tumble, activities which could potentially result in a forearm fracture which are usually caused by either a fall onto an outstretched arm, a fall directly onto the forearm or a direct blow to the forearm. The bones of a child have a different quality and consistency to those of an adult and because children are still growing, their injuries need different evaluation, and sometimes different treatment. Since a child’s bones heal quicker than an adult’s, it is important to treat any fracture promptly to avoid future problems caused by the bones beginning to heal themselves.
The immediate and most obvious sign that a child may have fractured their arm is severe pain, possibly accompanied by numbness in the arm and hand which could indicate potential nerve damage. In addition to the pain, if there is a misalignment of the finger, wrist, or forearm, or if there is a skin wound leading to the fracture, the child should be taken immediately to an emergency room. Not all fractures in children will result in an obvious deformity or major loss of mobility. If there is significant bruising or swelling, or if there is a significant nail-bed injury an X-ray will be needed to confirm if the bone, or bones, are broken. A doctor will need to evaluate the injury if pain, swelling, or loss of movement persists.
Distal radius fractures, or wrist fractures, are the most common form of pediatric forearm fracture and generally occur as a result of falling onto an outstretched hand with the wrist extended. Of the two bones in the forearm (the radius and the ulna) the radius is the larger; the end of the bone toward the wrist is called the distal end, and a distal radius fracture is the result of the radius breaking near the wrist.
The treatment for a forearm fracture will depend on the type of fracture and the amount of dislocation. Treatments include non-surgical and surgical options and can be used in conjunction with each other.
• Non-surgical treatment – some fractures simply need the support of a cast or splint while they heal. In more severe cases, where the fracture is angled, the doctor may be able to gently manipulate or push the bones back into place. This procedure is called a closed reduction, and afterwards the arm is immobilized in a cast or splint while it heals.
• Surgical treatment – when non-surgical methods are not appropriate, or are ineffective, surgery will be needed to realign and secure the pieces of broken bone. The doctor may recommend surgery if:
• The bone has broken through the skin (called an open fracture) as this type of injury is at risk for infection and requires certain treatment
• The fracture is unstable, meaning that the ends of the bones will not stay lined up
• There are bone segments that have been displaced
• The bones cannot be realigned correctly through manipulation alone
• The bones have already begun to heal in an improper position
During surgery, the doctor will perform a procedure called an ‘open reduction’ by opening the skin and repositioning the pieces of broken bone. The doctor may hold the bones in place using pins, metal implants, or a cast until they have healed. Florida Hand Center is an advanced medical facility dedicated to the treatment of hand and arm conditions with locations in Port Charlotte FL and Fort Myers FL and are proud to serve patients statewide. Call us or schedule an appointment today! We serve patients from Port Charlotte FL, Fort Myers FL, Lake Suzy FL, Murdock FL, Charlotte Harbor FL, Harbour Heights FL, and Solana FL.
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