The Hand Center sees broken arms from sports injuries, workplace accidents, falls and from osteoarthritis complications.
While the prognosis for broken arms is excellent with prompt attention, there are a number of complications where our expertise can be critical. These include joint involvement, compound fracture (infection risk), nerve / blood vessel damage.
If the fracture is not protruding from the skin and no obvious deformity is evident, the normal course of action is to get X-rays to determine the extent and complexity of the fracture. The X-ray will identify the location of the break and clarify whether joint involvement is contributing to the injury. If more accurate images are required to review surrounding muscles, tendons and tissues a CT scan will be ordered.
Delays in Diagnosis will Complicate Care and Repair
Your bones are active living structural components. A broken arm will immediately begin the healing process. If the bone is not set properly or if other damage is left undiagnosed, you risk compromising the future integrity of the bone and its function.
Setting the bone
If you have a displaced fracture, your doctor may need to manipulate the pieces back into their proper positions — a process called reduction. Depending on the amount of pain and swelling you have, you may need a muscle relaxant, a sedative or even a general anesthetic before this procedure.
Restricting the movement of any broken bone is critical to healing. To do this, you may need to wear a splint, sling, brace or cast. The length of time needed depends on the severity of the injury, but can range from three to 10 weeks.
Arm rehabilitation begins shortly after initial treatment or surgery. In most cases, it's important to begin some motion to minimize stiffness in the arm, hand and shoulder while you're still wearing your cast or sling. Once your cast or sling is removed, your doctor may recommend additional rehabilitation exercises or physical therapy to restore muscle strength, joint motion and flexibility.