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Minor arm injuries are common. Symptoms often develop from everyday
wear and tear, overuse, or an injury. Arm injuries are often caused by:
Your child may injure his or her arm during sports or play or
from accidental falls. The chance of having an injury is 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:
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:
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:
Check your symptoms to decide if and when
you should see a doctor.
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If your arm is in a cast or
splint, your doctor will give you instructions on how to
care for your cast or splint. Try to move the
uninjured parts of your arm as normally as possible to help maintain muscle
strength and tone.
If you have a minor
injury and do not need to be checked by a doctor, you may be able to use home
treatment to help relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
The following tips may prevent arm
Arm injuries such as bruises, burns,
fractures, cuts, or punctures may be caused by
abuse. Suspect possible abuse when an injury cannot be
explained or does not match the explanation, repeated injuries occur, or the
explanations for the cause of the injury change. You may be able to prevent
further abuse by reporting it and seeking help.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to
answer the following questions:
June 27, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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