Forearm Pain – Causes & Best Treatment Options
Forearm pain (aka tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis) encompasses any form of discomfort or pain felt in the arm between the wrist and the elbow. An injury or inflammation may cause forearm pain to any forearm’s tissues, including forearm muscles, bones, blood vessels, tendons, and skin. Forearm discomfort may strike anybody and is often the result of a traumatic or repeated usage injury. Your forearm consists of two bones called the radius and ulna.
Forearm pain is often caused by sports-related injuries, overuse injuries, fractures, pinched nerves, or accidents. Forearm discomfort may also be caused by a systemic illness, such as a cold, which results in body pains, or an infection of the forearm’s tissues. In rare instances, forearm discomfort may be caused by a benign growth such as a cyst or a malignant tumour. Forearm pain is treated differently depending on the pain’s nature, location, and origin.
Seek emergency medical assistance if you experience elbow pain associated with a serious fracture, such as a protruding bone, or if your forearm discomfort is accompanied by significant bleeding, paralysis, or numbness. Forearm pain can cause difficulty in daily activities such as typing, lifting, and changing clothes.
Common Causes of forearm pain
Forearm pain is usually the consequence of an injury or inflammation of the components in the forearm space.
The bones of the forearm include the following:
This bone starts at the elbow and ends on the side of the thumb at the wrist.
The forearm has several muscles that help rotate the forearm up and down (supination) and flex and stretch the fingers of the hand.
Musculoskeletal causes of bilateral forearm discomfort include difficulties with how the forearm’s components interact.
Repetitive motions such as typing, crutching, and even walking the dog may compress nerve and blood vessels throughout the forearm. Bilateral forearm swelling and discomfort might result from repetitive positioning damage.
Forearm injuries such as dislocations or sprains may cause persistent bilateral forearm discomfort.
Anything that directly damages the forearm, such as a vehicle accident, a violent fall, or a direct strike, may result in shattered bones, oedema, and discomfort. Depending on the intensity of the trauma, these factors may potentially be linked to obvious abnormalities and bleeding.
Sprain as a cause of forearm pain:
A sprain occurs when a ligament or tendon is twisted or stretched. A ligament is a strip of connective tissue that spans the gap between two bones. A tendon, like a ligament, is a band of connective tissue that connects muscle to bone. Sprained multiple ligaments in the forearm or elbow joint may be caused by activities that include bending, twisting, rapid movement, or direct contact. That’s why it’s often referred to as golfers elbow due to high occurrence of the strain in golfers.
Stress from the day-to-day activity may emerge in several sections of the body. Many everyday actions, such as dressing, handling items, typing, and so on, are inextricably related to the forearms.
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that connects the nerves from the spinal cord to the arm and runs between the neck and the shoulder. On either side of the neck, there is a band. Any injury that causes the shoulder and neck to extend up and down might develop brachial plexopathy by damaging these nerves.
Sports injuries as a cause of forearm pain
Sports injuries and automobile accidents are common. The brachial plexus may be damaged by inflammation, malignancies, and radiation treatment.
Osteomyelitis (Acute Infection of the Forearm Bones):
Osteomyelitis (Acute Infection of the Forearm Bones) is a bacterial or fungal infection of the bone that is usually caused by Staph Aureus (40-50 per cent of the time).
Repetitive Strain Injuries that cause forearm pain:
Repetitive strain injuries to the forearm are produced by repetitive wrist usage.
Repetitive motions might cause wrist injury. Typing, racquet sports, and stitching are all common hobbies that may induce discomfort or possibly carpal tunnel syndrome. Wrist discomfort isn’t always associated with a single cause.
A bruise is caused by damage to the blood arteries that return blood to the heart, causing blood to pool in the wrist. Most bruises are blue or purple in hue because of this. Wrist bruises are widespread, typically as a result of small traumas.
The arm pain determines the diagnosis. The following are some of the factors that need to be identified by the healthcare professional:
Thoracic outlet syndrome as a cause of forearm pain:
The diagnosis is based on the patient’s medical history, physical examination, imaging (x-ray or ultrasound), and sometimes nerve conduction and blood flow investigations.
Electromyography (EMG), computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and occasionally angiography are used to diagnose brachial plexopathy.
This infection is difficult to identify because it may spread by blood from a breach in the skin in the location or anyplace else on the body.
Treatment for forearm pain:
Some structures in the forearm have a poor blood supply, which is why they can struggle to heal on their own. It is the oxygen and nutrients in our blood supply that help to heal these structures.
Prolotherapy involves the injection of a regenerative solution into these structures to provide a direct supply of what is needed to heal them and provide pain relief.
As the treatment is helping to treat the root cause of the problem, it is deemed to be a permanent fix.
Exercise alone isn’t always enough; some orthopaedics might recommend anti-inflammatory pills, over-the-counter medications (ibuprofen), steroid injections, or splints to relieve discomfort and muscle strain.
The most common treatments are rest and physical therapy. To remove scar tissue or restore damaged nerves, surgery may be required.
Preventative measures for forearm pain
Here are some preventative measures for forearm pain:
Massage for forearm pain:
Myofascial release, a kind of massage, may help alleviate symptoms. Each muscle is surrounded by a fascia, a thick fibrous sheath that may tighten and restrict the muscle. Massage of the forearm regularly may help relax the fascia, enabling the muscle to relax. You may take a few basic exercises to rehabilitate your arm and resume your usual activities when the discomfort from forearm stress fades. Here are some forearm-pain-prevention exercises:
Squeeze a Tennis Ball:
Squeeze a tennis ball in your hand. Hold the position for a few seconds before releasing it. Begin with a few repetitions and gradually increase the number as the discomfort allows. If you’re in agony, take a step back. Wrist extensor stretch is a very efficient exercise to help treat forearm pain.
With your arm straight in front of you, parallel to the floor, and palm up, do arm rotations. Make a fist with your hands. As though you were flipping a pancake, turn your fist. If pain allows, increase the number of repetitions. Holding a light dumbbell, then a hammer, and maybe a tennis racquet, increase the weight to your fist as you grow stronger.
Wrist Extension and Flexion Extension:
Bend your wrist down with your right arm parallel to the floor and your palm down. Keep your hands in this posture for a few seconds. Return to the beginning location and repeat the process.
Lift your wrist with your right arm in front of you parallel to the floor and palm up. Keep your hands in this posture for a few seconds. Return to the beginning location and repeat the process. As you gain strength, you may add a light dumbbell (or even a can of beans) to these exercises. Stretching the pronator muscle can help to improve flexibility and reduce pain in the forearm.
Forearm pain can be quite a nuisance. But there are certain medical conditions, such as angina, that can cause pain in the forearm. So it is very crucial to seek medical advice immediately from an orthopedic or any healthcare professional.
What is forearm pain a symptom of?
Forearm pain might be a symptom of overuse injury, sports trauma, bone fracture, accidental injury, or pinched nerves. Moreover, forearm pain can also be a symptom of a tissue infection or a general infection.
When should I be concerned about forearm pain?
You should be concerned about your forearm pain if you feel like the underlying cause of the pain is a bone fracture, damaged joints, or injured nerves. You should seek immediate medical treatment in case of a visible forearm bone fracture or hearing clicking, popping, or crunching related to a forearm injury.
How do I know if my forearm pain is serious?
If you feel a sudden acute pain in your forearm or hear a crunching, popping, or clicking related to the forearm, you should know that your forearm pain is serious. Or, if you have an apparent deformity or bulging bone in your forearm or wrist and have continuous bleeding, you should seek medical treatment immediately.
Can carpal tunnel cause forearm pain?
Yes, carpal tunnel syndrome can cause forearm pain. It is a state that occurs as a result of the compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome may cause stinging, numbness, and pain in the hand and forearm.
Why does my forearm ache at night?
Your forearm may ache at night because of many reasons like sudden traumatic damage, overuse injuries, sports injuries, fractures, or nerve injuries. Moreover, it might also result from arthritis (osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis) or an infection.
How do I treat forearm pain?
You can treat your forearm pain by:
- Complete rest from daily activities for two to three days
- Ice massage
- Elevation of the forearm
- Use of compression wraps
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