The ulna and the radius are the two bones that form the forearm. The two bones bridge the distance between the wrist and the elbow. The ulna is susceptible to “Nightstick Fracture”, an isolated break of the bone largely due to impact to the ulna. While an ulnar fracture includes a substantial list of causes for this injury, the dominant cause is contact sports.
Ulnar Fracture Symptoms
The most common symptoms for an ulnar fracture are pain and swelling at the site of the injury, centralized tenderness, deformity of the arm, and possible abrasions or bruises to the arm. Your physician will conduct a physical exam followed by X-rays to diagnose an ulnar fracture while the elbow is examined to see if it is dislocated.
Depending on the amount of displacement that the ulna has incurred, a full cast or a wrist and forearm fracture brace will be ordered, along with the bone being reset to align properly for healing. If the misalignment is minimal, a wrist brace that extends to the forearm will likely be advised, usually for a period of 4 to 8 weeks, depending on the progress that a patient makes in their healing.
Ulnar Fracture Treatment
Significant amounts of ulna displacement require surgical stabilization, consisting of a plate and screws to stabilize the bone and assure proper alignment. As this operation has a slight risk of complications, such as post-operative infection or the plate and screws requiring removal after the bone has had sufficient time to heal, physicians choose to operate only in cases where it is medically necessary.
For many people suffering from an ulnar fracture injury, the wrist support or brace plays a vital role in their recovery, providing added stabilization to the injured area while minimizing the amount of therapy and healing time needed for a full and active recovery. Often, a doctor or physical therapist will recommend exercises and movements to be performed multiple times, on a daily basis, to ensure the maximum amount of flexibility within the arm while a patient is healing.