Forearm Muscle Strain

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. It is a common injury in sports. It is also common in people who work in jobs with repetitive keyboard motions. Treatment depends on the severity of the strain.

  • Causes

    A forearm muscle strain is caused by:

    • Stretching the forearm muscles beyond the amount of tension they can withstand
    • Suddenly putting stress on the forearm muscles when they are not ready for stress
    • Overusing the forearm muscles over time
    • Getting a direct blow to the forearm muscles

  • Definition

    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.

    It is a common injury in sports. It is also common in people who work in jobs with repetitive keyboard motions. Treatment depends on the severity of the strain.

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

  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.


    Most forearm muscle strains can be diagnosed with a physical exam.

    Your doctor may want images of the area if severe damage is suspected. Images may be taken with
    x-ray
    or
    MRI.

    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.

  • Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of getting forearm muscle strain, take the following steps:


    • At work, use an
      ergonomic keyboard
      or workstation.
    • Keep muscles strong. This will help them absorb the energy of sudden stressful activities.
    • Avoid over exercising.
    • Learn the proper technique for sports.
    • If you are feeling tired, stop exercising.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors increase your chance of developing forearm muscle strain include:

    • Participation in sports that overuse the forearm
    • Previous strain or injury to the area
    • Muscle fatigue
    • Weak or tired muscles
    • A job that requires repetitive movements that strain the forearm muscles

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms may include:

    • Problems flexing your fingers or wrist
    • Pain while stretching the fingers or wrist
    • Area feels tender and sore
    • Muscle spasms
    • Swelling

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Recovery time ranges depending on the grade of your injury. Treatment steps may include: