Forearm Pain - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

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Video: Forearm Pain - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Video: Forearm Pain - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Video: How To Fix Forearm Pain & Tightness | Wrist Mobility & Stretches 2023, March
Forearm Pain - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Forearm Pain - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Forearm pain: how is it treated?

The forearm is the portion of the upper limb that consists of the ulna and radius. Thus, the forearm is a section of the arm that starts from the hand and ends with the elbow. Pain in this area bothers people often. Nerve endings are located throughout the forearm, so ligaments, muscles, tendons, blood vessels, bones and joints can hurt. The causes of pain vary widely. These can be nervous disorders, vascular damage, infectious diseases, metabolic disruptions.


  • Causes of forearm pain
  • You need to contact a specialist if …
  • Which doctor can help with forearm pain?
  • Diagnostics
  • Treating forearm pain
  • Prevention of forearm pain

Causes of forearm pain

Causes of pain
Causes of pain

Acute pain in the forearm often occurs against a background of diseases such as:

  • Osteochondrosis.
  • Arthritis.
  • Arthrosis.
  • Bone and joint injuries.
  • Neuritis.

If pain occurs while moving the elbow or shoulder, then it indicates dislocations or sprains. Chronic pain can occur with bursitis, tendinitis, and tendon rupture.

Aching pain can be the result of myalgia, periarthrosis and cardiological diseases.

The listed reasons do not cover the entire list of factors that can cause pain in the forearm. To find out the etiology of pain, you need to rely on the features of its occurrence.

Muscle damage

Damage to the muscles of the forearm, which causes pain, can be caused by such reasons as:

  • Myositis. Myositis pain is burning. If a person is left-handed, then the pain arises in his right hand and vice versa. The more intensely a person moves a limb, the more pain will be. Movement in the elbow joint is often difficult. The tissues in the area of inflammation turn red. The pain subsides when the person stops moving the arm, but they do not completely go away. Discomfort increases when the weather changes.

  • Convulsions. A person cannot control them by an effort of will. The pain against the background of convulsions is cramping, quite intense. The causes of its occurrence are overwork, impaired blood circulation, failure of metabolic processes in the forearm.

  • Crick. This is a traumatic cause of pain. The tearing can be caused by sudden hand movements, for example, during sports. The pain will bother for several days, and sometimes weeks. After that, she begins to subside. Often edema forms at the rupture site, and the forearm swells.

  • Tearing muscles. The cause of the injury is a sharp bending or extension of the wrist joint. Most often, large areas of muscle are not affected, but in severe cases, they can completely detach from the tendon. A person experiences severe pain, the tissues of the forearm swell, and the mobility of the hand is limited.

  • Crash syndrome or muscle squeezing syndrome. This is a serious injury that occurs with prolonged pressure on the forearm. This violation leads to internal hemorrhage. The formed hematoma, in turn, also continues to put pressure on the nerve fibers and blood vessels. The affected tissue swells, the body temperature rises locally. If the patient is not treated in time, the tissues may undergo necrosis. In the future, limb movements will become impossible.

  • Spontaneous hematomas that have not been preceded by trauma. Such bleeding under the skin is common in people who are taking blood thinners. In the area of hematoma formation, pain occurs, it is pulling, not too intense. The forearm swells slightly.

Damage to tendons and ligaments

Damage to tendons and ligaments
Damage to tendons and ligaments

Most often, the ligaments and tendons of the forearm hurt against the background of inflammation.

The reasons that can provoke it:

  • Tendinitis and tendinosis (inflammation of the tendons). These disorders include a whole group of diseases in which not only the ligamentous apparatus suffers, but also the membrane surrounding it. The person develops tendovaginitis. The inflammatory process is accompanied by intense pain, the mobility of the hand is sharply limited. The pain intensifies during active movements of the hand, subsides at rest. Other symptoms of tendon inflammation include crunching of the injured area, skin redness, and fever.

  • Diffuse fasciitis. In this case, the fascia, which connects the muscles of the forearm, suffers. It becomes difficult to move the hand. The skin in the affected area coarsens, becomes less elastic, the hand and fingers lose their strength.

Joint and bone damage

The joints and bones of the forearm most often hurt against the background of the injury. However, sometimes pain becomes a symptom of a serious illness.

The main causes of pain in the joints and bones of the forearm include:

  • Dislocation of the joint. This condition is characterized by the displacement of the bones that form the joint. The pain is sharp, the person cannot move the hand. Deformation of the joint is noticeable.
  • Bone fracture. The limb acquires an anatomically incorrect position, abnormal mobility occurs in the area where the bone was cast. During movement, a crunch is heard, which is emitted by bone fragments.
  • Arthritis. With this disease, the joints become inflamed and hurt, limb mobility is limited. The shape of the joint changes, a crunch is heard when trying to move the hand.
  • Osteomyelitis. Pathology is accompanied by necrosis and suppuration of bone tissue. As the disease progresses, the inflammatory process can reach the bone marrow. The inflammation spreads to nearby soft tissues. The cause of osteomyelitis is the reproduction of pathogenic flora. It can get into bone structures after an injury. Sometimes osteomyelitis is the result of other bone pathologies. Inflammation is accompanied by a significant increase in body temperature (up to 40 ° C), severe intoxication of the body, headache, chills, delirium. A person cannot move a sick hand, it swells strongly, becomes red. In addition to bone structures, adjacent joints suffer.
  • Osteoarthritis. This disease leads to degenerative-dystrophic changes in the joints. At an early stage of development of pathology, pain will occur from time to time. The discomfort increases after physical exertion, when the limb is lifted up. Then the pain begins to bother even at rest. The joint crunches, its mobility is sharply limited.

Damage to blood vessels and nerve endings

Damage to the blood
Damage to the blood

Pain in the forearm can be caused by damage to blood vessels and nerve fibers:

  • Vein thrombosis. Inflammation occurs against the background of blockage of a large vessel by a blood clot. At first, only the vein will be inflamed, but gradually the pathological process spreads to soft tissues. A person's hand hurts, becomes edematous. Depending on the intensity of the inflammation, the pain ranges from dull to piercing and throbbing. Loads lead to increased pain. Thrombosis is a dangerous pathology. If a blood clot is torn off, there is a high risk of death.

  • Postthrombophlebitis syndrome. This term means several pathological symptoms at once. All of them occur after a vein thrombosis. A person may experience pain in the forearm for a long time, it remains swollen. As a rule, discomfort intensifies after straining the limb, or after physical exertion.

  • Arterial circulation disorder. The reason is the narrowing of the lumen of the vessels, or their clogging with cholesterol plaques, calcium and other substances that can be deposited on the vascular walls. The hand is not getting enough power, which causes pain. It intensifies after stress on the limb, for example, after pulling up. If the violation of arterial circulation is observed for a long time, then the hand becomes weak, the skin becomes covered with ulcers, which do not regenerate well.

  • Ulnar nerve neuritis. Pathology develops against the background of inflammation of the nervous tissue. The person suffers from pulling and aching pain, fingers often go numb. Hypothermia, limb injury, pressure on nerve fibers, etc., can provoke neuritis.

  • Polyneuropathy. With this disease, peripheral nerves are affected, there is a circulatory disorder in the limb, it can be paralyzed. Often, patients suffer from a feeling of numbness in the hand. Polyneuropathy is a complication of diabetes.

  • Spine diseases. Herniated discs and osteochondrosis can provoke pain in the forearm. Each of the pathologies leads to clamping of nerve fibers, which causes the corresponding symptoms.

  • Plexite. The inflammation in this case is concentrated in the nerve node located near the shoulder. Most often, plexitis is a consequence of trauma.

Other causes of pain

Forearm pain can have a variety of causes. They will not always be associated with diseases of the bone tissue or joints, as well as with trauma.

Other causes of painful sensations include:

  • Water-salt imbalance. If the level of certain salts in the blood decreases, it can cause pain in the arm. A similar situation is observed against the background of taking diuretics, with diarrhea and severe vomiting. All these conditions contribute to the development of dehydration of the body. The tissues swell, the patient is thirsty, the pressure decreases, the pulse quickens, arrhythmia occurs.

  • Panniculitis is an inflammation of the subcutaneous fat layer. Lumps and knots form under the skin. These formations are quite painful. The person refuses to eat, suffers from a general deterioration in well-being. Body temperature rises to feverish levels. The patient is nauseous, vomiting may occur.

  • Heart attack. Pain with damage to the heart muscle is concentrated in the sternum. Sometimes it can spread to the hand, it can give to the stomach, neck, shoulder blade. The main symptoms of a heart attack include: dizziness, pressing feeling in the chest, pale skin, fainting, shortness of breath.

  • Gout. In this disease, the exchange of purines is impaired. Uric acid salts accumulate in the blood. They start to deposit around the joints. If the elbow or wrist joint is affected, then the pain will be concentrated in the forearm.

You need to contact a specialist if …

You need to see a specialist
You need to see a specialist

You should consult a doctor in the following cases:

  • The pain is very strong, exhausting the person.
  • The painful part of the arm swells.
  • In addition to pain, a person's body temperature rises.
  • The pain intensifies during physical exertion on the arm.
  • The limb creaks and crunches during movement.
  • An injury was received.

Which doctor can help with forearm pain?

If painful sensations were not triggered by trauma, then you need to visit a therapist (for children - a pediatrician). The doctor will take an anamnesis and identify the causes that could provoke painful sensations. If the need arises, he will refer the patient to a narrow specialist. After the diagnosis has been clarified, appropriate therapy will be selected. In some cases, consultation with a traumatologist or neurologist is required.


To find out the cause of the pain in the forearm, the doctor will prescribe a set of examinations. Specific measures depend on what kind of suspicions the specialist has. They can be as follows:

  1. Study of the medical history, collection of anamnesis.
  2. Examination of the affected area and its palpation.
  3. Radiography.
  4. Ultrasound of soft tissues of the limb.
  5. MRI.
  6. Blood test for infectious diseases, vitamin deficiency.

Treating forearm pain

Pain treatment
Pain treatment

Depending on what goal the doctor pursues, he can prescribe to the patient such types of therapeutic effects as:

  • Etiological. It is most effective because it is aimed at eliminating the cause of pain.
  • Pathogenetic. The impact will be exerted on the mechanisms of development of the disease, but not on its causes.
  • Symptomatic. This treatment can only eliminate the symptoms of the disorder.

Treatment approaches can vary.

Possible areas of therapy:

  • Medication.
  • Surgical intervention.
  • Application of physiotherapy methods.

Drug treatment of diseases

The information presented in the article is presented for informational purposes only. It is not a guide to action, as self-medication can be dangerous. In order not to harm your own health, you need to contact a specialist and follow his recommendations.

The drug effect on the body can be etiological, pathogenetic, and symptomatic.

  • To eliminate the cause of the disease, antibacterial and antiviral drugs are prescribed.
  • The mechanism of disease development is influenced by antihistamines (Tavegil, Diphenhydramine), NSAIDs (Nimesil, Diclofenac), vitamins, anticoagulants, antiplatelet agents, etc.
  • To relieve symptoms, pain relievers (Analgin, Baralgin), antispasmodics and sedatives are prescribed. All of them can be used both in tablet form and in the form of injections.

Drugs that are prescribed for the treatment of various diseases:

  • Myositis treatment:
  • Preparations for relieving inflammation: Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, Nimesulide.
  • Pain relief drugs: Analgin, Ketorolac, Dexketoprofen.
  • Antispasmodics: Drotaverine, Mebeverin, Papaverine.
  • Tendinitis treatment:
  • Preparations for the relief of the inflammatory reaction: Piroxicam, Nimesulide, Diclofenac.
  • Pain relief drugs: Dexalgin, Ketorolac, Dexketoprofen.
  • Antispasmodics: Drotaverine, Mebeverin, Papaverine.
  • Treatment for tendovaginitis:
  • Preparations for relieving inflammation: Nimesil, Indomethacin, Fasknal.
  • Antibacterial agents: Amoxicillin, Ceftazidime, Cefepim.
  • Local glucocorticosteroids: Dexamethasone, Hydrocortisone.
  • Homeopathic remedies: Traumeel.
  • Trauma treatment:
  • Removal of inflammation: Naproxen, Fastum-gel.
  • Pain relief: Nimesil, Wobenzym.
  • Homeopathic remedies: Traumeel.
  • The help of a surgeon is resorted to as needed.
  • Arthritis treatment:
  • Drugs from the NSAID group: Diclofenac, Indomethacin, Meloxicam.
  • Anti-inflammatory steroids: Triamcinolone, Betamethasone, Methylprednisolone. These drugs are injected directly into the joint.
  • Chondroprotectors: chondroitin sulfate.
  • Osteomyelitis treatment:
  • The patient needs surgery.
  • Antibacterial agents: Doxycycline, Chloramphenicol, Metronidazole.
  • Pain relief drugs: Tramadol, Dexketoprofen, lytic mixture (analgin with diphenhydramine).
  • Treatment of atherosclerosis obliterans:
  • Statin drugs: Atorvastatin, Rosuvastatin.
  • Anticoagulants: Warfarin, Heparin.
  • Antiplatelet agents: Aspirin, Clopidogrel.
  • Stenting of the affected artery. In the area of atherosclerotic plaque formation, a stent is installed, which expands the vessel.
  • If necessary, bypass or amputation of the limb is performed.
  • Thrombophlebitis treatment:
  • Drugs that prevent the formation of blood clots: Warfarin, Heparin ointment.
  • Blood thinners: Plavix, Cardiomagnet, etc.
  • Statins: Simvastatin, Atorvastatin.
  • Fibrinolytics: Urokinase, Streptokinase, Alteplase. They are administered only in a hospital under medical supervision.
  • As necessary, they resort to the help of a surgeon, removing the diseased vein.

Physiotherapy treatment

Physiotherapy treatment
Physiotherapy treatment

Physiotherapy procedures can speed up the healing process. Possible procedures:

  • Electrophoresis.
  • Magnetotherapy.
  • Balneotherapy.
  • UHF.
  • Infrared laser treatment.

If the doctor deems it necessary, he will prescribe a massage to the patient and select exercise therapy. The prognosis depends on the cause of the forearm pain. However, the earlier therapy is started, the more favorable it is. This applies to any pathology.


Surgical intervention that can be shown to the patient:

  • Bypass surgery.
  • Stenting.
  • Sympathectomy.
  • Removal of a neoplasm or other anatomical structure that presses on the nerves and blood vessels.

Amputation of a limb is an extreme measure, which is resorted to in case of emergency. Indications for its implementation:

  • Hand gangrene.
  • Detection of a primary tumor or metastasis in it.
  • Severe frostbite of the limb, which led to tissue necrosis.

Video: Dr. Evdokimenko, rheumatologist and psychophysiologist, academician of the Russian Academy of Medical and Technical Sciences, will talk about arthritis and arthrosis:

Prevention of forearm pain

It is impossible to be 100% insured against pain in the forearm. For example, it will not be possible to eliminate a hereditary predisposition to certain diseases or to protect oneself from injury. However, it is quite possible to reduce the likelihood of developing many pathologies.

To do this, you need to adhere to the following recommendations:

  • Do sport. This will improve blood flow to the joints and strengthen the muscles.
  • Avoid hypothermia. You need to dress for the weather, keep your hands warm.
  • Do not lift weights. Distribute the load evenly on the arms.
  • See your doctor regularly. Early diagnosis allows you to identify the problem in time and get rid of it.

Author of the article: Kaplan Alexander Sergeevich | Orthopedist

Education: diploma in the specialty "General Medicine" received in 2009 at the Medical Academy. I. M. Sechenov. In 2012 completed postgraduate studies in Traumatology and Orthopedics at the City Clinical Hospital named after Botkin at the Department of Traumatology, Orthopedics and Disaster Surgery.

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