A forearm muscle strain is a partial or complete tear of the small fibers of the forearm muscles. Forearm muscles allow you to extend and flex your wrist and fingers.
Muscles of the Hand and Forearm
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A forearm muscle strain is caused by: Stretching the forearm muscles beyond the amount of tension they can withstandSuddenly putting stress on the forearm muscles when they are not ready for stressOverusing the forearm muscles over timeReceiving a direct blow to the forearm muscles
Factors that may increase the chance of a forearm muscle strain include: Participation in sports that overuse the forearmPrevious strain or injury to the areaMuscle fatigueWeak or tired musclesRepetitive movements that strain the forearm muscles
Symptoms may include: Problems flexing the fingers or wristPain while stretching the fingers or wristArea feels tender and soreMuscle spasmsSwelling
The doctor will ask about symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Most forearm muscle strains can be diagnosed with a physical exam.
Images of the area may be needed if severe damage is suspected. Images may be taken with
Muscle strains are graded according to their severity: Grade 1—Some stretching with micro tearing of muscle fibers.Grade 2—Partial tearing of muscle fibers.Grade 3—Complete tearing of muscle fibers. This may also be called a rupture or avulsion.
Recovery time ranges depend on the grade of your injury. Treatment options may include one or more of the following:
The muscle will need time to heal. RICE is often the main part of treatment: Rest—Activities will need to be restricted at first. Normal activities will be reintroduced gradually. Ice—Ice therapy may help relieve swelling. Heat or cold may be advised throughout recovery if they provide benefits. Compression—Used for a limited time, compression bandages can provide gentle pressure to help move fluids out of the area. Elevation—Keeping the area elevated can help fluids drain out or prevent fluids from building up.
Prescription or over-the-counter medications may be advised to reduce pain.
To help reduce the chance of a forearm muscle strain: Use an
Keep muscles strong. This will help them absorb the energy of sudden, stressful activities.Avoid overuse or repetitive stress.Learn the proper technique for sports.If you feel pain during exercise, stop exercising that muscle group.
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Last reviewed March 2016 by James Cornell, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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