Forearm Splints

Helpful Information Regarding Forearm Splints

For many athletes, particularly gymnasts and weightlifters, forearm splints are a cause of much pain and frustration. Exercise and practice must be delayed, sometimes for several weeks, and this can be quite troublesome to athletes that are in the midst of a training program.

If you or one of your teammates are struggling with a painful case of forearm splints, read this article to educate yourself on common causes, treatments, and preventative measures that you can utilize to reduce the risk of this complication happening again.

What Are Forearm Splints?

Like shin splints, forearm splints are most commonly associated with any sharp, progressive pain to that limb. The pain may start off mild and miniscule, but if left untreated, it will increase and can actually lead to permanent injury. Proper treatment and preventative measures in the future are highly recommended. You should also seek out medical help before continuing any form of exercise if you suspect that you are suffering from this forearm complication.

What Causes This Problem?

These forearm and shin splints are caused when the tendons in those limbs are unable to absorb the shock that those particular body parts are undergoing during exercise. During exercise, the muscles exert an enormous amount of pressure on the bones of the limb (the ulna and radius in this case) and the tendons that connect them can tear.

Forearm injuries like this generally occur mostly in gymnasts and weightlifters due to the great amount of stress and pressure involved on their forearms. It is easy to understand why, when the amount of specialty spring moves and lifts are taken into consideration, as well as the extreme dumbbell lifting and curls.

It is not actually the weight of the dumbbells or the athlete that causes the splints to develop, but many people mistakenly believe this to be so. In fact, it’s actually the sudden pressure shocks and quick jerking movements that may take place that can cause the strain involved. When the tendons become overused and strained due to this, they lose their ability to help protect the bone and muscle and can become torn, resulting in splints.


Luckily, forearm splints treatment is very similar to treatment for most other soft tissue injuries. Once you notice a problem, implement R.I.C.E.—Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Stop the physical activities and ice your arm by placing a bag of ice on your arm with a rag or towel in between your skin and the bag. Compression may be required as well, and tape or an arm brace can help alleviate some of the pain. Elevation is also key. Try to keep your arm at heart height to help with proper circulation.

These methods should be used for the first 24-48 hours after injury, but during this time you should also seek medical help. Your doctor will guide you through the rest of your treatment, including different bouts of proper rehabilitation.


Preventative Measures

While treatment is all fine and good, athletes should really try to focus on preventative measures in their training to avoid these injuries altogether. Although many people take this for granted, a proper warm up is one of the most important things you can do for your body prior to working out. Warming your muscles up and getting oxygen and nutrient-rich blood flowing throughout the limbs can not only prevent injury, but it can increase your performance as well. Even car racers know that you have to warm the engines up a bit before taking off at top speed.

Stretching is also important. Stretching can help keep your muscles and tendons supple and flexible, which will help them adapt easier to your fluid movements without jostling and tearing them.