Having a broken or fractured arm basically means that one of the bones has cracked or got broken. This injury is fairly common in both children and adults, especially among adults with osteoporosis. Since an arm consists of three major bones, a fracture can happen on any of them, meaning that some arm fractures are worse than others.
Causes of a broken arm are many, but mostly they occur due to two reasons, direct trauma or a simple fall. Typically, if you fall on your hand while it is outstretched, a fracture will happen, whether near the wrist or up near the shoulder. This all depends on the fall itself and on the age and physical condition of the person.
On the other hand, a direct trauma can happen due to a direct blow from an object, for example, a bat or something else, the trauma in a car accident, or if force is applied to your arm in another type of accident.
Healing time, of course, differs from person to person. But before that, let us see what the symptoms are and how to treat this type of injury.
Symptoms and Treatment
There are several ways you can tell that you have a fractured arm. If you are experiencing a lot of pain, especially when you are moving your arm, if you have excess swelling, open wound with bone poking out, if you cannot move your arm of you have decreased sensation, and, most obviously, if you notice a deformity in comparison to another arm, a fracture may have happened.
When it comes to treatment, the most important thing you should do is to immobilize the arm before going to the doctor. You can use a towel or a scarf to secure your arm. Apply ice to reduce the swelling and alleviate the pain, but never put ice directly onto your skin as it can cause skin damage.
When you get to a doctor, he or she will probably put a splint or a cast on your arm in order to stabilize it and to help the bones heal properly. In addition, you may get some pain medication to help with the discomfort.
How Long to Heal?
Finally, let’s see how long does the healing process last. As with all injuries, this varies from person to person, it depends on the type of injury, and the age and physical condition of the injured patient. Generally speaking, if you have broken a forearm bone, the usual recovery time is from three to six months. This amount of time is needed for full healing, which does not mean that you will not be able to use your arm in this period.
Since broken bones heal at different time rates, depending on your overall health and the severity of the fracture, some bones can heal in a matter of three weeks, while some will take six weeks or more. Generally speaking, the older you are the more recovery time you will need, and some of these fractures can take as long as ten weeks or more to heal.
What you can do to speed up the recovery process is to wear the support your doctor put on your arm, which can be a brace, cast, sling, or splint. Make sure your cast is dry and clean, and that you apply ice to your injury several times a day. You can help the healing by keeping your arm elevated above the heart level as much as you can to help prevent and decrease the swelling. While you are sitting or sleeping you can use a pillow to elevate your arm.
If prescribed, take your pain medicine. Do not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes to promote the circulation which helps get the oxygen to your injury, healing it faster. Of course, when our bones are healing, that takes a lot of energy. If you are feeling tired, do not be afraid, it is just your body trying to recover itself and fix the fracture. What you need to do is give yourself time and not be too hard on yourself. Make sure you get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet to get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to heal.
Naturally, prevention is always the best cure, so always make sure to wear a seat belt while driving and appropriate protective gear while cycling or riding a bike. Get enough calcium to prevent osteoporosis and keep up a good diet and exercise regime. Leading a healthy life will prevent not only bone fractures, but other health issues as well, so always make sure to eat well, get enough sleep, and meet all your nutrient needs every single day.