Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Nightstick Fracture Evaluation

The evaluation of a forearm fracture begins with a history and physical examination.

Physical findings in someone with a forearm fracture may include:

  • Forearm tenderness
  • Forearm swelling
  • Forearm bruising
  • Forearm deformity
  • Abnormal capillary refill test:
    • The capillary refill test is performed by pressing gently on a fingernail tip, to make the normally pink fingernail bed turn white. When this pressure is released, a well-hydrated (or mildly dehydrated person) will have enough blood flow to return the fingernail bed to its usual pinkish color in under two seconds.
  • Hand numbness (unilateral)
  • Hand weakness (unilateral)

Testing is required to make the diagnosis of a forearm fracture and determine its severity.

Tests that may be used to evaluate forearm fracture include:

For more information:

Continue to Nightstick Fracture Treatment

Last Updated: Dec 13, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Nightstick Fracture References
  1. Goldfarb CA, Ricci WM, Tull F, Ray D, Borrelli J Jr. Functional outcome after fracture of both bones of the forearm. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2005 Mar;87(3):374-9. [15773649]
  2. Kelsey JL, Prill MM, Keegan TH, Tanner HE, Bernstein AL, Quesenberry CP Jr, Sidney S. Reducing the risk for distal forearm fracture: preserve bone mass, slow down, and don't fall! Osteoporos Int. 2005 Jun;16(6):681-90. [15517189]
  3. Oskam J, Kingma J, Klasen HJ. Fracture of the distal forearm: epidemiological developments in the period 1971-1995. Injury. 1998 Jun;29(5):353-5. [9813678]
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