Breaking an arm can be a frustrating and painful experience. Once the initial shock of an unexpected injury wears off, questions arise. Will the arm ever go back to its old norm? Can the break prevent future involvement in sports? Will the arm be able to move entirely as it should for work and other activities? Of course, there is no singular answer for any one of these questions. The type and severity of the break dictate a lot, as does the management of the broken arm.
Broken Arm 101
One broken arm isn’t every broken arm. Every fracture can be different because the arm has several bones, all of which are susceptible to injury. Technically, the arm includes all structures between the shoulder and the wrist, including:
- The radius and the ulna, two bones that make up the forearm. The radius is the bone situated on the thumb-side of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the pinky-finger side of the arm. These bones travel from the wrist to the elbow.
- The upper part of the arm, from the elbow to the shoulder, is composed of the humerus bone, which is secured in the shoulder joint.
Any of these bones may break at any point and thickness. Management of the broken arm needs to revolve around these details. Following your visit with your doctor, you will have a much better understanding of how your bone/s broke and what the best method of treatment is.
How to Manage a Broken Arm
The objective in managing a broken arm is first to obtain appropriate treatment that will then start the healing process. Sometimes the break can heal by simply taking the weight off the arm with a sling. Sometimes, two ends need to be brought back together, so they align as they did before the break. This may also involve manual realignment and a cast only, or correction may require surgical intervention.
However the initial management takes place, there is usually a period in which the arm must be immobilized to let new bone tissue regenerate in the fracture. After several weeks, recovery may then turn to the restoration of mobility using specific rehabilitation exercises or devices. Like immediate repair, this also occurs based on the location and severity of the break.
Adequate rehabilitation of a broken arm does not need to be complicated. This type of injury requires care from an orthopedic specialist to properly manage healing and recovery for optimal mobility.