Fractures to bones in the arm, particularly the forearm, usually cause immediate pain and will require urgent medical care.
If the two ends of broken bone are aligned or can easily be manipulated back into place, your doctor may secure the arm with a cast or brace to immobilise the bones. The type of cast or brace and length of time the arm will need to be immobilised will depend on the location and severity of the injury. Your cast may be changed once the swelling subsides.
Surgery is often required in fractures that involve the upper and lower arm. Surgery should be considered if:
- The two ends of the bones are not aligned (displaced) or are at a significant angle to one another.
- The fracture involves a nearby joint
- The bone has pierced the skin
- Blood vessels or nerves of the arm have also been injured
- If early movement of the arm is important for a speedy recovery
During surgery, X-rays are performed to ensure that the best possible position of the fracture can be achieved. Internal rods or plates and screws are used to hold the bones together.
Following surgery the arm may be placed in a back slab, splint, cast or sling for a short period. Your doctor will advise how long the these are to remain in place.