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Broken Arm Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on November 01, 2021

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.
  • The arm is numb, white, or blue.
  • There is deformity to the arm.

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

  • Put a wrapped ice pack or ice in a towel on the arm for a few minutes at a time.
  • Elevate the arm above the heart, if possible.

3. Immobilize Arm

For less serious injuries:

  • Don't try to straighten the arm. Try to keep it still and don't move it.
  • 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 a rolled-up newspaper or a ruler with first aid tape.
  • Make sure the splint and wrapping aren't cutting off circulation. 

 

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.
WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Broken Arm."

KidsHealth: "Broken Bones" and "Broken Bones Instruction Sheet."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Casts and Splints."

HealthyChildren.org: "First Aid Guide," "Children and Broken Bones."

Eisenberg, A. What to Expect: The Toddler Years, Workman, 1996.

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