Broken Arm

Overview

A broken arm is one of the most common sports injuries, both in children and adults. In fact, arm fractures account for nearly half of all broken bones in adults. In children forearm breaks are second only to broken collarbones.
Properly treated, a broken arm will leave no lasting effects. The sports medicine team at the Florida Hospital Celebration Health Sports Medicine Program have the technologies available to ensure that the extent of the break is properly diagnosed and the experience to not only repair the bone, but assist with its rehabilitation so you're back to full strength quickly.

 

Causes of Broken Arms

In the vast majority of cases, the arm is broken either from a fall where the arms and hands are outstretched or a blunt force impact to the humerus.

 

Emergency Response to a Broken Arm

If there is serious bleeding, the possibility of multiple broken bones or additional injuries, emergency personnel should be summoned to the scene of the incident. Never move a broken arm as it can cause further damage to blood vessels, nerves and soft tissues. If a broken bone is sticking out of the skin, do not try to push it back in.
Following are steps to take in the event of a broken arm:

  • Make sure the patient is stabilized.
  • Check to see that breathing is normal, the pulse is good and that there are not any other injuries that could complicate the situation.
  • Avoid contaminating the area by lightly covering the site with a clean, dry cloth or bandage until medical help arrives. This is particularly important if a bone is protruding from the skin.

If medical help is not readily available and the patient must be moved:

  • Immobilize the broken arm in a temporary splint or sling.
  • Immobilize the joints above and below the site of the injury.
  • Be careful not to constrict the arm with the supporting strap.
  • Take the injured person to a doctor or emergency room immediately.

 

Treatment

Once the broken bone has been set back into place, the doctor will immobilize the arm. Most of the time, you will be fitted with a splint or a cast. The length of time the splint or cast needs to be worn depends on the nature of the injury and your individual healing process.

Surgery is not required for a broken arm.


Rehabilitation

It can take several weeks to several months for a broken arm to heal completely. The rehabilitation process involves gradually increasing activities to restore the strength of the muscles and fully restore joint motion and flexibility.
Doctors at the FHCH Sports Medicine Program will encourage you to participate fully in your rehabilitation process since the more you put into the it, the more you will get out of it in terms of function. You will need to continue your exercises until the muscles, ligaments and other tissues are back to full strength. Your doctor will monitor your progress to ensure that healing is complete and that you can resume your normal level of activity again.

If you have questions about broken arms or want to make an appointment with us, please contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators and they'll be happy to help you.