Upper arm break

If more pressure is put on the humerus than its stability allows, it will break in one or more places (fractured upper arm).

Overview

If more pressure is put on the humerus than its stability allows, it will break in one or more places (fractured upper arm). This causes severe pain and swelling, and sometimes a misalignment is visible. For such injuries, the arm must be splinted, immobilised and cooled, and a doctor must be consulted immediately.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • Pain
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Restricted mobility of elbow or shoulder

Other symptoms

  • Obvious deformity and misalignment
  • Injuries to the nerves in the area of the elbow can lead to sensory disturbances in the arm and hand and to muscle wastage

Causes and treatment

Causes

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • X-ray
  • CT scan (computed tomography)
Possible therapies
  • Plaster cast
  • Operation (possibly also to replace the shoulder joint)

What can I do myself?

  • Try to move the fractured area as little as possible, stabilise and immobilise the forearm
  • Cool the arm (if possible)

Get a personal Preventive Care Recommendation now.

When to see a doctor?

  • After an external trauma (fall, etc.):
    • Severe pain
    • Severe swelling
    • If the forearm is abnormally positioned
    • Sensory disturbances in the arm / hand
  • Increasing pain inside the plaster

Synonyms

Upper arm break

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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