Broken Arm or Fractured Arm: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment- X-ray, Cast, Surgery
What is Broken Arm or Fractured Arm?
Arm comprises of the following bones: Humerus which is located above the elbow, radius and ulna which are located in the forearm. Any of these bones can be fractured or broken resulting in a broken arm or a fractured arm. One or more than one bone can be fractured at a time. Fractured arms comprise of about 50% of all the fractures. It is a common injury affecting both adults and children.
Symptoms of Broken Arm or Fractured Arm
Symptoms Depending On The Severity Of Injury
- Immediate pain after a severe trauma or injury to the arm.
- Increasing pain upon movement.
- In case of fractured elbow, there is difficulty in bending the arm.
- Swelling is present.
- There may be disfigurement or crookedness of the arm.
- An open fracture results if the bone ruptures through the skin.
- In case of nerve damage, patient will experience numbness or tingling below the fractured area.
Causes of Broken Arm or Fractured Arm
- Falling onto an outstretched arm results in a broken arm.
- Trauma to the arm when it is extended away from the body.
- Car accidents are also a common cause.
- Direct impact or trauma while playing sports.
Treatment of Broken Arm or Fractured Arm
- X-ray should be taken to confirm a fractured or a broken arm and to find out the extent of damage.
- Patient should seek immediate medical attention after the diagnosis of broken arm is confirmed.
- The doctor will evaluate the patient for other complications such as damage to nerves or blood vessels.
- The arm is placed into a cast for some weeks if there is a straightforward fracture, i.e. where the bone has not ruptured the skin and is only broken into 2 parts with no displacement. The cast is kept until the bone has fully healed.
- In case of severe fractures involving displacement, bone reduction is required through manipulation of the bones or with surgery.
- If the bone is fractured into more than two pieces, then also surgery is required. The parts of bone are fixed into place with the help of wires, pins or plates. If the surrounding structures are also damaged, then they need to be repaired during surgery.
- After the surgery is done, the arm needs to be immobilized again for some weeks. After the healing is complete, patient needs to start a rehabilitation program to regain mobility and strength of the arm.