Distal-Third Forearm Fractures Clinical Presentation

Updated: May 09, 2023
  • Author: Arvind D Nana, MD; Chief Editor: Harris Gellman, MD  more...
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On presentation, the history should include the patient's pertinent past medical history, occupation, hand dominance, mechanism of injury, and treatment history. The patient's dependence on the extremity for occupational needs and activities of daily living (ADLs) greatly affects later decision-making.


Physical Examination

Start the physical examination proximally at the shoulder, and continue distally to include the elbow, wrist, and hand. Visually inspect the wrist, and note the presence or absence of open wounds, swelling, and deformity. Pain may limit manual examination and range of motion (ROM) of the injured wrist, but investigate other proximal injuries because they may alter the treatment plan. An adequate neurologic and vascular examination with particular attention to the median nerve is essential. Tests for compartment syndrome also must be performed carefully.