Minor arm injuries are common. Symptoms often develop from everyday
wear and tear, overuse, or an injury. Arm injuries are often caused by:
- Sports or hobbies.
- Work or projects around the home.
Your child may injure his or her arm during sports or play or
from accidental falls. Chances of having an injury are higher in contact sports,
such as wrestling, football, or soccer, and in high-speed sports, such as biking,
in-line skating, skiing, snowboarding, and skateboarding. Forearms, wrists,
hands, and fingers are injured most often. An injury to the end of a long
bone near a joint may harm the growth plate and needs to be checked by a
Older adults have a greater chance for injuries and broken bones because
they lose muscle mass and bone strength (osteoporosis)
as they age. Older adults also have more problems with vision and balance,
which increases their chances of having an accidental injury.
minor injuries will heal on their own, and home treatment is usually all that
is needed to relieve symptoms and promote healing.
Acute injuries come on suddenly and
may be caused by a direct blow, a penetrating injury, or a fall or from
twisting, jerking, jamming, or bending a limb abnormally. Pain may be sudden
and severe. Bruising and swelling may develop soon after the injury. Acute
injuries usually require prompt medical evaluation and may include:
- Bruises (contusions ), which occur when small
blood vessels under the skin tear or rupture, often from a twist, bump, or
fall. Blood leaks into tissues under the skin and causes a black-and-blue color
that often turns purple, red, yellow, and green as the bruise
- Injuries to the tough, ropelike fibers (ligaments) that
connect bone to bone and help stabilize joints (sprains).
- Injuries to the tough, ropelike
fibers that connect muscle to bone (tendons).
- Pulled muscles (strains).
- Muscle ruptures, such as a
biceps or triceps rupture.
- Broken bones (fractures). A
break may occur when a bone is twisted, struck directly, or used to brace
against a fall. See a picture of a
fractured arm .
- Pulling or pushing bones out of their normal
relationship to the other bones that make up a joint (dislocations).
Overuse injuries occur when stress
is placed on a joint or other tissue, often by "overdoing" an activity or
repeating the same activity. Overuse injuries include:
- Pain and swelling of the sac of fluid that
cushions and lubricates the joint area between one bone and another bone, a
tendon, or the skin (bursitis).
- Pain and swelling of the
tough, ropelike fibers that connect muscles to bones (tendinitis).
- Pain and swelling from tiny
tears (microtears) in the connective tissue in or around the tendon
(tendinosis). Other symptoms of this type of tendon injury include loss of
strength or movement in the arm.
- Hairline cracks in bones of the
arm (stress fractures).
- Pressure on nerves in
the arm, such as
carpal tunnel syndrome.
Treatment for an arm injury may include
first aid measures (such as using a brace, splint, or cast), "setting" a broken
bone or returning a dislocated joint to its normal position, physical therapy,
medicines, and in some cases surgery. Treatment depends on:
- The location, type, and severity of the
- When the injury occurred.
- Your age, health
condition, and activities (such as work, sports, or hobbies).
Check your symptoms to decide if and when
you should see a doctor.