What causes forearm pain?

Forearm pain is caused by damage to the muscles, tendons, bones, or other tissues that make up the forearm. Forearm pain is usually the result of injury, such as a sports injury, or inflammation. Forearm pain may also be related to an infection, a growth, a nerve problem, or even cancer.

Common causes of forearm pain

Forearm pain may be caused by an injury to, or inflammation of, the forearm including:

  • Bone fracture
  • Dislocation
  • Overuse injury
  • Sports injuries
  • Tendinitis

Other causes of forearm pain

Forearm pain can also be caused by a variety of other conditions including:

  • Benign tumor
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cyst (benign sac that contains fluid, air, or other materials)
  • Fibromyalgia (chronic condition that causes pain, stiffness and tenderness)
  • Infections or abscess of the skin or soft tissues
  • Nerve entrapment or compression, such as of the ulnar nerve in the arm
  • Surgery

Serious or life-threatening causes of forearm pain

In some cases, forearm pain may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be evaluated immediately in an emergency setting. These include:

  • Malignant (cancerous) tumor
  • Serious fracture, such as with a broken bone protruding from the skin

Questions for diagnosing the cause of forearm pain

To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your forearm pain including:

  • How long have you felt pain in your forearm?
  • Do you have any other symptoms?
  • Do you use your forearm frequently in daily activities, such as lifting?
  • Have you had a recent injury?
  • What makes your forearm pain feel better or worse?

What are the potential complications of forearm pain?

Forearm pain may simply go away with time. It may also respond to home remedies, such as cold compresses, or over-the-counter medications. In serious cases, however, forearm pain may require treatments, such as physical therapy and surgery. Because forearm pain can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:

  • Inability to perform daily tasks
  • Paralysis
  • Permanent loss of sensation
  • Severe discomfort or pain
  • Spread of cancer
  • Spread of infection


  1. Hand/wrist/arm problems. FamilyDoctor.org. http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/tools/symptom/526.printerview.html.
  2. Broken bone. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000001.htm.


What is forearm pain?

Forearm pain refers to any type of pain or discomfort of the arm between the wrist and the elbow. Pain in the forearm can arise from injury or inflammation that affects any of the tissues of the forearm, including the muscles, bones, blood vessels, tendons, and skin. Forearm pain can happen to anyone and is often related to a traumatic or repetitive use injury.


What other symptoms might occur with forearm pain?

Forearm pain may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.

Musculoskeletal symptoms that may occur along with forearm pain

Forearm pain may accompany other symptoms affecting the muscles, bones, tendons and cartilage including:

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 2, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles

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