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Arm Fracture In Adults

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

An arm fracture is a crack or break in one or more of the bones in your arm. An arm fracture may be caused by a fall onto an outstretched hand. It may also be caused by trauma from a car accident or a sports injury. Osteoporosis (brittle bones) can increase your risk for a fracture.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Return to the emergency department if:

  • The pain in your injured arm does not get better or gets worse, even after you rest and take medicine.
  • Your injured arm, hand, or fingers feel numb.
  • Your arm is swollen, red, and feels warm.
  • Your skin over the arm fracture is swollen, cold, or pale.
  • You cannot move your arm, hand, or fingers.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your brace or splint becomes wet, damaged, or comes off.
  • You have questions or concerns about your injury, treatment, or care.

Medicines:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling and pain. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to take this medicine safely.
  • 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 healthcare provider 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 should rest your arm as much as possible. Ask your healthcare provider when you can put pressure or weight on your arm. Also ask when you can return to sports or vigorous exercises.

Ice:

Apply ice on your arm for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.

Elevate:

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

Care for your cast or splint:

Ask your healthcare provider 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.

  • Check the skin around your cast or splint each day for any redness or open skin.
  • Do not use a sharp or pointed object to scratch your skin under the cast or splint.

Physical therapy:

A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

© 2016 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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