Ulna Fracture

The ulna is a forearm bone, extending from the wrist to the elbow. It is located beside the radius (the other forearm bone). A fracture to the ulna, sometimes known as a nightstick fracture, is effectively a broken forearm and requires medical treatment before thinking about returning to activity.

Symptoms

Pain is the most apparent symptom of an ulna fracture, and it may be worsened when attempting to move the forearm. The area might become inflamed, and sometimes there can be a noticeable deformity where the fracture was sustained, the arm appearing unnatural or misshapen in some way.

Causes

A hard impact to the forearm can frequently cause the injury. In sports a heavy projectile or a strike from a fellow competitor in a contact sport can lead to the fracture. However the forearm does not have to be hit by a moving force; the arm can itself hit stationary objects like a hard surface (such as the floor of an indoor court), especially as the result of a fall. This can occur in many court sports as well as gymnastics, dancing, skating, and sports involving heights like horse riding and cycling. Other causes unrelated to sport include harsh collisions such as traffic accidents.

Medical Treatment

Consult a medical professional so that they can examine your injuries and conduct the necessary scans and tests to diagnose the condition. This can be particularly important for wrist and forearm conditions because there may be an accompanying injury; for instance, sometimes an elbow dislocation leads to the ulna problems. Usually the doctor can treat the fracture by fitting you with a brace or a cast to keep bone movement restricted and hold the forearm in position to heal.

In the event that this proves inadequate, or if the fracture is deemed to be severe enough to be classified unstable, then surgery may be necessary. This will seek to stabilise the arm, often using a metal plate. Extreme cases can require more than one surgery following non-union of the broken arm. During all stages of treatment it is crucial to rest the forearm and refrain from strenuous activities which could further damage the bone. Anti-inflammatory pain medication can reduce pain and swelling.

Rehabilitation

The recovery process will involve a program of motion exercises plus gradually increasing stretching and strengthening in the area; a physical therapist can assist with this and advise on the correct speed to progress. They will also recommend a suitable time to return to activity and talk to you about any sports which may be affected after the injury has healed.

Prevention

Wearing appropriate elbow pads and wrist protection during sporting activities can help to reduce the risk of this injury because the pads absorb some of the shock from collisions and falls.

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