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Arm Fracture In Children


An arm fracture

is a break in one or more of the bones in your child's 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.

Child Arm Bones

Common signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Arm and shoulder pain
  • Swollen and bruised arm
  • Abnormal arm position or shape
  • Severe pain when your child moves his arm
  • Weakness or numbness in your child's arm, hand, or fingers

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child's pain gets worse, even after he rests and takes medicine.
  • Your child's arm, hand, or fingers feel numb.
  • Your child's skin over the fracture is swollen, cold, or pale.
  • Your child's arm is swollen, red, and feels warm.
  • Your child cannot move his arm, hand, or fingers.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child's brace or splint becomes wet, damaged, or comes off.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Treatment for an arm fracture

will depend on what kind of fracture your child has, and how bad it is. He may need any of the following:

  • Support devices , such as a brace, cast, or splint may be needed to hold the broken bones in place. It will decrease his arm movement and allow it to heal. Do not remove your child's device.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling and pain. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much your child should take and how often he should take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to give this medicine safely.
  • Closed reduction may be done to put your child's bones back into the correct position without surgery.
  • Open reduction surgery may be needed to put your child's bones back into the correct position. An incision is made and the bones and ligaments are put back in the correct position. This may include the use of special wires, pins, plates or screws.

Manage your child's symptoms:

  • Apply ice on your child's 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 your child's arm above the level of his heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop his arm on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
  • Have your child rest his arm. Your child should rest his arm as much as possible. Do not let your child put pressure on his arm or use his arm to lift anything. Ask his healthcare provider when he can return to sports and other activities.
  • Take your child to physical therapy as directed. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider within 1 week:

Your child may need to see a bone specialist within 3 to 4 days if he needs surgery or more treatment. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Arm Fracture In Children (Ambulatory Care)

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