How to Treat a Broken Arm During First Aid

broken arm treatment

If your arm might be broken, what you do next is crucial. You want to make sure you don’t make the injury or broken bone worse. You should understand the proper first aid broken arm treatment you can do as you wait for medical attention.

Keep reading to learn what you should do next if you suspect your arm is broken.

Broken Arm Treatment For Adults

If an adult has a broken arm, what you do next is key. Here are the next steps you should take after the injury.

Call 911 If

You will want to call 911 immediately if the person is seriously injured. You will also want to call 911 right away if you suspect there is an injury to the victim’s neck, back or head.

You will need to go to the hospital if there is any bone sticking out of the skin, the bleeding won’t stop after firm pressure for several minutes, or you see blood spurting from the wound.

If none of this is happening then you can continue with the other broken arm first aid steps.

Stop The Bleeding

If there is bleeding, you will want to apply firm pressure to where the injury is. You’ll want to apply this pressure with a clean cloth and keep it on until your bleeding stops.

If there is a bone that is pushing through the skin, don’t touch it. Also do not try to push the bone back into place, as this will only make the injury worse.

Reduce Swelling

The next thing you will want to do is reduce swelling. To do this apply ice to the injured area. You also want to elevate your arm above your heart if you can.

Immbolizie Your Arm

If you have an injury that isn’t as serious, you’ll want to not move your arm. So if you cannot remove your sleeve without moving your arm, you will want to cut away the sleeve of your injured arm.

Next, you’ll want to carefully tape either a rolled-up newspaper or a ruler with first aid tape to your arm. This will keep it from moving.

See a Health Care Provider Immediately

After you’ve done the following, you will want to see your health care provider as soon as possible. This is an incredibly important step, as they can tell you if your arm is broken, and what can be done to properly heal your broken arm.

Follow Up

You health care provider will likely take x-rays of your arm and will also probably apply a splint or cast. You might need surgery to realign broken bones or reset your bone.

If your bone has broken through the skin, then you will need it to be cleaned and might need surgery from a licensed medical professional.

Broken Arm Treatment For Adults

Call 911 If

If a child has a broken arm, you will want to call 911 if the bone has broken through the skin. You will also want to call 911 if the arm is bleeding heavily, and or is numb, blue, white and or has a deformity.

For children, as long as they get medical treatment right way, the broken arm will usually heal well.

Examine the Injury

The first thing you’ll want to do is to look at the broken arm. Do not try to straighten the arm, as that can make it worse. If the bone has broken through the skin, do not touch the bone.

You’ll want to drape gauze or a clean diaper over the injury. You will also want to apply pressure to control any bleeding, as you wait for emergency help.

Make a Splint

Again, do not try to straighten the arm. You will want to keep your arm still and don’t move it. You should put some soft padding like a soft cloth around the arm.

You can make a splint for the arm with a ruler, rolled up magazine or newspaper. This will keep the arm from moving around too much.

Next, you’ll want to gently wrap tape or cloth around the splint to hold everything together. You will want to make sure that the wrapping and splint aren’t cutting off any circulation.

Get Help

If you suspect that your child’s arm is broken, you will want to go to their pediatrician’s office or the emergency room as soon as possible.

Reduce Swelling And Pain

While you are waiting to see your doctor, you will want to put ice in a towel or an ice pack on the arm. Apply this for a couple of minutes at a time.

You will want to keep the child’s arm elevated if possible. You will also want to check with your doctor before giving the child any pain reliever.

Signs Of A Broken Arm Or Wrist

If you are unsure that a child or adult’s arm or wrist is broken, here are some signs. If there is severe tenderness and pain, or swelling and bruising, the area might be broken.

A broken arm could also mean the person has a hard time moving their arm or hand, or the arm or wrist is bent into a weird shape. If you hear a grinding or snap noise at the time of the injury, that could also be a sign that the bone is broken.

If there is a numbness and or tingling to the affected area, and there is bleeding or the bone is poking through the skin, these are all signs of a broken bone.

There is a lot of shock and pain involved when a bone is broken, so the victim might feel sick, faint or dizzy.

You might not be able to tell the difference between a minor sprain or break, so it’s best to assume it’s a fracture until you get it checked out by a nurse or doctor.

Is My Arm Broken Or Sprained?

You might also be confused if you are dealing with a broken or strained arm. Keep reading to understand the difference.

Broken Arm

A broken bone or fracture happens when the bone gets cracked or chipped. This will create trauma to the surrounded soft tissue of the area that is affected. Signs of a broken bone include hematoma (looks like a bruise) bleeding, swelling, and the inability to move the area.

The best way to treat a break is to immobilize the entire area. As this will help avoid any more pain or other complications that could happen.

When a break is treated, the patient has to rest the injury and apply ice constantly. The arm will need to be elevated so that blood flow isn’t restricted.

Sprained Arm

A sprain happens when the affected joint is twisted. In this case, then there are injuries to the surrounding ligaments. These ligaments can suffer rupture either completely or partially.

Symptoms of a sprain include swelling, hematoma (bruising), the inability to move the affected area. You will need to rest the area to treat the sprain. You will also need to apply a cold compress, but this compress should never be applied directly to the skin.

You should always protect the skin with a cloth or towel, before applying ice. It should take about ten days to heal a mild sprain, while a more severe sprain could take up to five weeks to heal properly.

What To Do With A Broken Arm Or Wrist

If you think someone has broken their arm or wrist, you’ll want to call 911 or seek medical attention immediately.

In the meantime, you will want to avoid moving the affected arm as much as you can. You might want to give the arm some support with a splint or sling. You can make your own sling by using a piece of fabric, some old clothes or a towel.

You will want to stop any bleeding by applying pressure with a clean dressing or a clean pad. You will also want to apply an ice pack, this could be a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel.

Make sure you don’t eat or drink anything in case surgery is needed when you get to the hospital. If your child is injured, you might want to get someone else to drive so you can comfort and support them.

Treatment For A Broken Arm Or Wrist

When you get to the hospital for broken arm treatment, you will likely first be given painkillers and a splint for support to keep your arm in one position.

An X-ray will then be carried out, this will check if your wrist or arm is broken, and how severe the break is. Treatment from here will depend on how severe the fracture is.

For Minor Fractures

If the fracture is minor, a removable splint and or plaster cast will be applied. Sometimes this can be done a few days later to let the swelling go down first. A splint can usually be left on until a cast is fitted.

In the meantime, you might also get a sling to support your arm, and given painkillers to take home. You will also be told how to look after your cast. You will likely also be asked to go to follow-up appointments to check on how your arm is healing.

For Serious Fractures

If you have a serious fracture, then your doctor might try to realign your broken bones with their hands first. This will likely be done while you are awake,  but your arm will be numb and you will be given medicine to relax you.

You may have to get surgery to realign your bones. This surgery will often consist of putting plates, wires, screws, and rods inside your arm. Sometimes a temporary external frame will be used.

You will also likely get a plaster cast applied to your arm before you go home, and you will be asked to attend a follow-up appointment to see how your arm is healing.

Recovering From A Broken Arm Or Wrist

Your cast needs to stay on you until the broken bone has healed. This takes about a month or two but can be longer if you have more a severe break.

When your arm is in a cast, you’re going to want to avoid straining it or putting any weight on it. But at the same time, you don’t want to completely stop moving it.

You should do some gentle exercises such as stretching. This will reduce any stiffness. You should ask your physiotherapist and or doctor about what are the best exercises to do for your injury.

You’ll also want to avoid any activities that involve carrying anything that is too heavy. You will also want to limit playing sports and even driving.

You will also want to make sure that your cast stays dry and your arm stays elevated like on pillows, whenever you can.

If you notice any changes in your skin color, signs of an infection such as swelling, redness or smelly discharge, you will want to contact your doctor. Also, seek medical attention if you feel any unusual sensations in your arm, have continuous or severe pain, or your cast is too tight, loose or cracked.

Ask your doctor about when you can return to your normal activities and work. They will most likely suggest that you gradually increase the use of your arm over a few weeks or months.

Also, keep in mind that your arm will be stiff after your cast is removed. Your physiotherapist can help you work through this. You should know it could take several months for your arm to feel fully back to normal, so be patient.

Treat Your Broken Arm

Now that you know broken arm treatment for both adults and kids, do the proper first aid remedies immediately. In most cases, you will need to seek medical attention if you suspect an arm is broken. Be sure to follow everything your doctor tells you so you can heal quickly.

For more medical resources, check out our blog today!

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The Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas offers diagnosis and treatment for hand, wrist, and elbow problems in Houston, using the most advanced and minimally invasive medical techniques. Our orthopedic hand specialists and hand and finger surgeons are waiting to provide you with excellent care at one of our hand care centers in River Oaks, Webster, North Houston, Katy/Sugarland, or Baytown

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