Forearm splints are painful and frustrating injuries that occur most often in athletes, gymnasts, and weight trainers. This type of injury is due to tendons that are unable to stand the stress that is being placed on them. These tissues tear away from the bone or bones that they are attached to when a great amount of force is exerted on the muscles around the bones. This kind of splint is very similar to shin splints, and generally take about the same amount time to heal.
This kind of injury usually occurs most in athletes that must put a lot of pressure on their forearms. For example, in gymnasts, forearm splints could be the result of different moves that require them to place all of their weight on the arms and hands. By contrast, weightlifters do not get this kind of injury because of the amount of weight that they lift, but from the actual process of lifting and curling the weights themselves.
Sharp, progressive pain generally occurs with forearm splints. This discomfort may not start out that way, though. A person may only feel a dull, minor ache at first. Continued exercise may worsen the pain, so quick treatment is usually needed along with plenty of time off. For the first couple of days after the pain begins, rest, ice, compression, and elevation are typically used at home to treat the pain and inflammation that is caused by the torn tendons.
During this at-home treatment, a person who has experienced forearm splints should also see a doctor. A physician is usually able to correctly diagnosis the problem and treat it further. Medications for inflammation and pain may be needed, as well as physical therapy. The doctor should also be able to give the injured person an accurate time frame in which to take a break from the physical activity that caused the problem. The splints may take a few weeks to fully heal.
A break from exercising or practice sessions can cause a lot of trouble for athletes that are preparing for events or are in the middle of training. Preventing forearm splints from occurring in the first place is the best course of action, and can save many athletes a lot of time, money, and pain. Warming up before any type of sport or exercise may help to prevent these kinds of injuries. Stretching should also help tendons to become flexible and ready for a workout.