Ortho-Preferred

Fractures of the Radius and Ulna Menu

Types of Radius/Ulna Fractures:

Both Bone Fractures:

Pediatric Forearm Fractures:

Proximal Radial Fractures:

Distal Radius Fractures: (Synthes Distal Radius Products)

Radial Shaft Fractures:


Radius Anatomy:

  • radius is a curved bone with an apex lateral bow with an apex lateral bow;
  • cylindral in the proximal third, triangular in the middle third, and flat distally ;
  • radius & ulna lie parallel to each other when forearm is supinated;
  • during pronation radius crosses ulna, rotating on axis that passes from capitulum through the distal end of ulna;
  • proximal radioulnar joint is most stable in supination where the broadest part of the radial head contacts the radial notch of the ulna and the interosseous membrane is taut
  • interosseous membrane:
    • radius and ulna are joined by proximal & distal RU joints & by interosseous membrane, which is directed obliquely downward from radius to ulna;
    • since ulna does not articulate w/ carpi, direction of interosseous membrane is important in transmission of longitudinal forces from radius to ulna;

Ulna Anatomy:

  • ulna has a triangular shape throughout, with an apex posterior bow in the proximal third
  • ular side of wrist is supported by TFCC, which articulates w/ both lunate and triquetrium;
  • ulnar attachment of TFC is to base of ulnar styloid & distally to triquetrum w/ volar ulnocarpal ligaments;

Functional Anatomy:

  • average range of pronation/supination is 90/90 degrees (50/50 degrees necessary for activities of daily living)
  • middle third deformity has a greater effect on supination, with the distal third affecting pronation to a greater degree

Ezekiel 30:21 (King James Version)

Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and, lo, it shall not be bound up to be healed, to put a roller to bind it, to make it strong to hold the sword.



Original Text by Clifford R. Wheeless, III, MD.

Last updated by Clifford R. Wheeless, III, MD on Monday, October 28, 2013 8:36 pm