Practical classification of forearm fractures

Last revised by Leonardo Lustosa on 24 Apr 2022

The practical classification of forearm fractures is a simple descriptive classification system commonly used when assessing forearm fractures, especially in the pediatric population.

Although simple, the classification provides a good guide to the management. These characteristics allow for a good indication of treatment, especially regarding reduction technique and immobilization position.

The practical classification accounts for three characteristics of the fractures: which bones are fractured, location of the fracture, and fracture pattern. 

Bone involvement:

  • radius
  • ulna
  • radius and ulna

Location of the fracture:

  • distal third
  • middle third
  • proximal third

Pattern of the fracture:

  • complete
  • greenstick
  • bowing
  • comminuted

In the case of complete fractures of the middle third of the radius, it is important to recognize if the fracture is proximal or distal to the insertion of the pronator teres muscle, which is located on the proximal half of the middle third of the radial shaft.

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Cases and figures

  • Forearm fractures practical classification
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