How do I Treat a Swollen Forearm?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 March 2020
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The first step in treating a swollen forearm is to determine what is causing the swelling. This may require a trip to a doctor so he or she can make a proper diagnosis; some causes of a swollen forearm are fairly minor, though others can be quite serious, so it is best to get a professional diagnosis to eliminate the possibility of a serious or life-threatening condition. The most common cause of a swollen forearm is injury that results from trauma or overuse, while less common but more serious conditions that can cause such swelling include bone fractures and edema.

Many athletes experience swollen forearm conditions after incurring a direct impact or trauma to the forearm. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the forearm can become damaged as a result of the impact, and tearing in these tissues can lead to pain and swelling. Severe muscle strains and ligament sprains are likely to lead to swelling in some cases, and the RICE treatment is often used to treat such swelling; RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Muscle ruptures, in which the muscle tears completely from itself or the tendons securing it to bone, can be extremely painful and will lead to swelling and bruising. This condition requires immediate medical attention.


Bone fractures can also lead to a swollen forearm, and pain is likely to accompany such swelling. Bone fractures tend to be painful, though the degree of the pain will vary according to the severity of the fracture. A fracture can be caused by an impact or trauma, or it can be a stress fracture that occurs when the muscles and bones incur a load that is too heavy for those tissues and bones to handle. A small crack can develop in the bone, leading to pain and swelling. Smaller fractures are treated with adequate rest, while more severe fractures may need more medical attention or even a surgery to repair the bones.

Edema can cause a swollen forearm, though this condition is less common than other causes. Edema occurs when fluid builds up in a certain part of the body; it can occur in many parts of the body, and when it occurs in the forearm, it may be necessary to visit a doctor who can determine the cause of the edema. This is not usually a life-threatening or serious condition, though it can be in some cases, and it can lead to other more serious conditions.


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Post 3

I had this happen because I was not holding machinery properly at work. It was applying pressure on the muscles in my forearm and causing swelling and pain. I purchased a soft cast which limited my movements. It resolved my problem.

Post 2

@simrin-- I think you should see a doctor first because sometimes a swollen arm without an apparent cause might be related to blood pressure issues or kidney issues. It's always a good idea to cross these off the list as possible causes first.

If everything else is normal, I'm assuming it's just water retention due to inflammation. Even if you were not pushing yourself, if you haven't been to the gym for a while, your body might not adapt to the level of activity right away.

Apply some ice and rest. You can take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory if you don't have stomach problems.

Post 1

I started working out at the gym last week. I didn't push myself too hard and I didn't injure myself either. Three days after I started working out, I developed swelling in my right forearm. The swelling has not gone down after two days but there is no pain or discoloration.

I would go to the doctor but I know I haven't injured myself. Can exercise cause swelling even without injury?

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