Arm Fracture In Adults

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

An arm fracture is a crack or break in one or more of the bones in your arm.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Medicines:

  • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or bone specialist within 1 week:

You may need to see a bone specialist within 3 to 4 days if you need surgery or further treatment for your arm fracture. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Rest:

You may need to rest your arm so that it can heal. Rest is most commonly used to treat a stress fracture.

Ice:

Ice decreases pain and swelling. Put crushed ice in a plastic bag and cover it with a towel. Put the ice over your splint or cast for 15 to 20 minutes every hour.

Elevate:

Raise your arm above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease pain and swelling. Prop your arm on pillows to keep it above your heart comfortably.

How to bathe with a cast or splint:

Follow directions about when it is okay to bathe. Do not get your cast or splint wet. Before you take a bath or shower, cover your cast or splint with a plastic bag. Tape the bag to your skin to help keep water out. Hold your arm away from the water in case the bag leaks.

Care for your arm when it is in a cast or splint:

  • Check the skin around your cast or splint each day for any redness or open areas.

  • Do not use a sharp or pointed object to scratch your skin under the cast or splint.

Physical therapy:

You may need to see a physical therapist to teach you special exercises. These exercises help improve movement and decrease pain. Physical therapy can also help improve strength and decrease your risk for loss of function.

Contact your primary healthcare provider or bone specialist if:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have sores around the area of your brace, cast, or splint.

  • You have new or more trouble moving your arm.

  • You notice a bad smell coming from under your cast.

  • You have questions or concerns about your injury, treatment, or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your pain gets worse, even after rest and medicine.

  • You have drainage from your surgery wounds or open skin areas.

  • Your surgery wounds or open skin areas become red, warm, and swollen.

  • Your injured arm, hand, or fingers feel numb.

  • Your cast cracks or is damaged.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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