Broken Upper Arm

Authored by Dr Jacqueline Payne, 16 May 2017

Patient is a certified member of
The Information Standard

Reviewed by:
Dr Adrian Bonsall, 16 May 2017

Most of us will break a bone at some point in our lives. As a child it usually takes something major, like falling out of a tree, but we bounce back and soon can't wait to get our school mates to scribble on our plaster cast - although that's not so easy with the new lightweight casts! As we get older though, it may just be a trip over a rug that lands us on the floor with a broken arm.

You might hear your bone crack or snap as you land but you will certainly feel pain. You might also notice that your upper arm is swollen and is beginning to bruise or even that it looks a different shape. Sometimes you can feel numbness or tingling in your arm.

When should I see a doctor?

If you think you (or someone you are with) have broken an upper arm, you should seek medical attention straightaway. If you think it is a bad break, call 999/112/911.

Further reading and references

  • Kim SH, Szabo RM, Marder RA; Epidemiology of humerus fractures in the United States: nationwide emergency department sample, 2008. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2012 Mar64(3):407-14. doi: 10.1002/acr.21563.

  • Jordan RW, Modi CS; A review of management options for proximal humeral fractures. Open Orthop J. 2014 Jun 278:148-56. doi: 10.2174/1874325001408010148. eCollection 2014.

  • Wang Y, Zhuo Q, Tang P, et al; Surgical interventions for treating distal humeral fractures in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jan 311:CD009890. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009890.pub2.

  • Clement ND; Management of Humeral Shaft Fractures Non-Operative Versus Operative. Arch Trauma Res. 2015 Jun 20

  • Pandya NK, Baldwin KD, Wolfgruber H, et al; Humerus fractures in the pediatric population: an algorithm to identify abuse. J Pediatr Orthop B. 2010 Nov19(6):535-41. doi: 10.1097/BPB.0b013e32833ce424.

  • Harding P, Rasekaba T, Smirneos L, et al; Early mobilisation for elbow fractures in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jun 15(6):CD008130. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008130.pub2.

I had a Trimalleolar fracture with dislocation. 6 weeks after 1 plate 14 screws I had my cast off. They put nothing on it no boot or anything. Last Saturday I fell and fell onto my ankle quite hard....

Heidijl
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