If your arm has broken you may experience pain and tenderness, localised bruising and swelling, numbness, difficulty moving the arm, and bleeding if the bone has broken through the skin.
When you break your arm, you fracture the bone. There are many different types of fractures. The main types of fracture are open, closed, displaced, and non-displaced.
An open fracture is when there is a break in the skin near the broken bone, or where there is an open wound. A closed fracture is when the bone has broken, but there is no open wound.
A displaced fracture is when the bone breaks and moves, so the two parts of the bone no longer line up. Surgery may be needed to deal with a displaced fracture. A non-displaced fracture is when the bone cracks, but does not move out of place.
How long a broken arm takes to heal will depend on a variety of factors, including the severity of the fracture. In general, bones take between six to twelve weeks to heal, or longer. Children’s bones tend to heal more quickly than those of adults.
How long a broken arm takes to heal will depend on a variety of factors, including the severity of the fracture. However, broken bones in children generally heal more quickly than in adults. A simple fracture may heal completely within four weeks.
If you suspect your arm is broken, go to your nearest emergency department or if the break is severe, call for an ambulance. At the hospital, a splint may be placed on your arm to keep it in a stable position. An x-ray will determine whether the arm is broken, and if so, the nature of the break, and how severe it is.
If the break is straightforward, a sling may be the only treatment needed. However, surgery may be necessary if the bones need to be realigned. After surgery, a plaster cast will be placed on the arm to protect the bone as it heals.
If surgery was not required, your arm may be in a cast for a few weeks. If you have had surgery, a cast may be needed for two to six weeks following surgery. How long the cast stays on your arm depends on the severity and nature of the fracture.
You may experience some pain for a few weeks after the cast is placed on your arm. Pain may occur when the fracture happens or shortly afterwards.
If you fracture a bone, you will likely experience the following symptoms: swelling and bruising, pain, difficulty in moving the affected area, numbness, and bleeding if the bone has broken through the skin. If you’re not sure whether you have fractured a bone, it is best to assume it is a fracture and see a doctor.
It is best to avoid intensive exercise while your broken arm is healing, and you’ll find you won’t be able to do much exercise anyway. However, once the bone is healing, it is a good idea to do some gentle stretches and exercises to reduce stiffness.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.