Health Library

Forearm Muscle Strain

Definition

A forearm muscle strain is a part or complete tear of these muscles. Forearm muscles extend and flex the wrist and fingers.

Muscles of the Hand and Forearm
IMAGE
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

This problem may be caused by:

  • Stretching the muscles too fast or too far
  • Putting sudden stress on the muscles when they are not ready for the stress
  • Overuse
  • A direct blow

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

  • Repetitive movements that strain the forearm muscles
  • Prior strain or injury to the muscles
  • Weak or tired muscles

Symptoms

Problems may be:

  • Pain while stretching the fingers or wrist
  • Problems flexing the fingers or wrist
  • Swelling
  • Muscle spasms

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the forearm. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.

Images may be taken to find out how much damage there is. This can be done with:

Treatment

How long it takes to heal depends on the injury. The goal of treatment is to promote healing. Options are:

  • Rest, ice, compression, and elevation
  • Medicines to ease pain and swelling

Prevention

The risk of this problem may be lowered by:

  • Strengthening the muscles of the forearm
  • Using the right techniques when playing sports

Resources

American Council on Exercise
http://www.acefitness.org

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
http://www.familydoctor.org

Canadian Resources

Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine
http://casem-acmse.org

Canadian Physiotherapy Association
http://www.physiotherapy.ca

References

Derry S, Moore RA, Gaskell H, McIntyre M, Wiffen PJ. Topical NSAIDs for acute musculoskeletal pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2015;(6):CD007402.

Muscle strain (pulled muscle). Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/orthopaedic-surgery/specialty-areas/sports-medicine/conditions-we-treat/muscle-strains.html. Accessed July 30, 2020.

Silva AG, La FM, Afreixo V. Pain prevalence in instrumental musicians: a systematic review. Med Probl Perform Art. 2015;30(1):8-19.

Sprains, strains, and tears. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at: https://www.acsm.org/docs/default-source/files-for-resource-library/sprains-strains-and-tears.pdf?sfvrsn=5b229fcf%5F2. Published 2011. Accessed July 30, 2020.