A broken arm may involve any of the three bones in your arm — the ulna, radius and humerus. One of the most common causes of a broken arm is falling onto an outstretched hand. If you think you or your child has sustained a broken arm, seek prompt medical attention. It's important to treat a broken arm as soon as possible for proper healing.
Treatment for a broken arm depends on the exact site and severity of the injury. A simple break may be treated with a sling, ice and rest. A more complicated broken arm may require surgery to realign the broken bone and to implant wires, plates, nails or screws into the broken bone to maintain proper alignment during healing.
Your arm is made up of three bones: the upper arm bone (humerus) and two forearm bones (the ulna and the radius). The term "broken arm" may refer to a fracture in any of these bones. ...
Most people know right away if they break their arm, because there's often a loud snap or cracking sound.
The signs and symptoms of a broken arm include:
When to see a doctor
Common causes of a broken arm include:
Certain medical conditions or physical activities can increase the risk of a broken arm.
Participation in certain sports
The prognosis for most arm fractures is very good. But complications may include:
Preparing for your appointment
Depending on the severity of the break, your family doctor or the emergency room physician may recommend that you or your child be examined by an orthopedic surgeon.
What you can do
For a broken arm, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions that you may have.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, including:
Tests and diagnosis
X-rays are taken to determine the extent of a fracture, pinpoint its exact location and determine the extent of injury to any adjacent joints. Occasionally, your doctor may also recommend a computerized tomography (CT) scan to obtain more-detailed images.
Treatments and drugs
Treatment of a broken arm will vary, depending on the type of break. Fractures are classified into one or more of the following categories:
Setting the bone
A broken arm usually happens in an unplanned, unexpected instant. Although it's impossible to foresee or prevent that instant, these basic tips may offer some protection.
Last Updated: 2011-08-19
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