When a person falls with their arm outstretched, often they end up with a broken wrist or arm. In most cases, this takes around six to eight weeks to fully heal for adults, and less time for children. For those who feel that they have a broken arm or wrist, they need to go to their nearest emergency department, and if this is severe, consider calling for an ambulance.
Signs of a Broken Arm or Wrist
The first sign of a broken arm or wrist is pain. However, there are two other signs that may explain if you have broken your arm or wrist. These signs are:
- Swelling in the area, or feeling tenderness in that area
- If the bone breaks the skin there is also bleeding
In some cases, though you may show these signs, you may have simply sprained the bone. It will require an x-ray to determine if the bone is broken or just sprained.
What to Do
If you feel that the bone is broken, here are a few aspects to remember:
- Do not eat or drink before arriving at the hospital as you may need general anaesthetic to realign the bone. Eating or drinking can cause other issues when getting this done.
- You can utilize a sling before you get to the doctor to keep the arm or wrist stabilized, you will want to avoid straightening the bone.
- Apply an ice pack to help reduce the swelling and pain
- If a child has broken their arm or wrist, you may need to comfort them, so find someone else to drive you to the doctor.
Treatment of a Broken Arm or Wrist
Depending upon how severe the break is, this is how treatment will go. However, in most cases, broken bones are treated in a hospital setting. An x-ray will be the first step, then a doctor may give pain killers in order to help you deal with the pain while they secure the position of the bone. A cast may then be applied to ensure that the bone stays together while you heal. After being released, you may be given more pain medications to help deal with the ongoing pain while you heal. In some cases, if the break is severe, a person may be referred to an orthopaedic doctor to help with recovery.
If you were to require surgery in which the bone needs to be pinned together, often when the break is serious, you will be home within a day or two.
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