Broken Arm Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on January 26, 2020

Call 911 if:

  • The person is seriously injured
  • You suspect an injury to the person’s head, neck, or back
  • Bone is sticking out of the skin
  • Bleeding doesn't stop after several minutes of firm pressure
  • Blood spurts from the wound

1. Stop the Bleeding if Necessary

  • Apply firm pressure to the wound area with a clean cloth until bleeding stops.
  • If bone is pushing through skin, do not touch it or try to put it back in place.

2. Reduce Swelling

  • Apply ice.
  • Elevate the arm above the heart, if possible.

3. Immobilize Arm

For less serious injuries:

  • Cut away the sleeve if it cannot be removed without moving the injured arm.
  • If you can without moving the arm, carefully tape it to rolled-up newspaper or a ruler with first aid tape.

4. See a Health Care Provider Immediately

5. Follow Up

  • The health care provider will likely take X-rays and may apply a cast or splint.
  • Surgery may be needed to reset the bone or realign broken pieces.
  • A bone that has broken through the skin will require cleaning and possibly surgery.