Parenthood Star breaks arm in bicycling accident

Erika Christensen, who plays Julia Braverman-Graham on NBC’s show Parenthood, has broken her right arm in a bicycling accident. Christensen, 28, whose film appearances include Traffic (2000), Swimfan (2002), How to Rob a Bank (2007), and The Perfect Score (2004) was seen by sporting an unusual cast on her arm- one equipped with ultrasound. As she told the TMZ crew:

“It stimulates bone growth … technology today, right!?”

The forearm is the part of the upper limb between the elbow and the wrist. It contains two long bones, the radius and the ulna.The forearm also contains many muscles, including the flexors and extensors of the digits, a flexor of the elbow (brachioradialis), and pronators and supinators that turn the hand to face down or upwards, respectively.

A forearm fracture is caused by trauma to the bone. Trauma includes:

Fall on an outstretched arm
Fall directly on the forearm
Direct blow to the forearm
Twisting the arm beyond the elbow’s normal range of motion

A fracture of the forearm can be classified as to whether it involves only the ulna (ulnar fracture), only the radius (radius fracture) or both (radioulnar fracture).


What are Ultrasound Bone Growth Stimulators?

Ultrasound bone growth stimulators are devices placed outside the skin that apply low-intensity, pulsed ultrasound to the skin surface above fracture sites. It is used most frequently for either new fractures or in fractures which will not heal properly (non-union fractures).

It is presently unknown how ultra how ultrasound stimulates bone healing.  What is known is that the fracture-repair process is extremely complex, and there are cells, genes, and other regulatory factors that may be influenced by the ultrasound signal.

One hypothesis is  that the pressure waves it produces provide micro-mechanical stress and strain causing biochemical alterations at the cellular level which lead to enhanced bone formation. Another attributes the positive effects on a slight elevation in temperature at the site caused by the ultrasound waves. Research is ongoing as to figure out how ultrasound helps bone healing and for which situations ultrasound may be most useful.


Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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