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Home :: Arm Fracture, Humerus

Arm Fracture, Humerus

A complete or incomplete break in the humerus, the large bone in the upper arm extending from the elbow to the shoulder. The most common fractures of the humerus occur in the tubercle (top part of the humerus that fits. into the shoulder joint) or in the neck or shaft of the humerus.

BODY PARTS INVOLVED

  • Humerus.
  • Elbow and shoulder joints.
  • Soft tissue around the fracture site, including nerves, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels.

Causes

Direct blow or indirect stress to the bone. Indirect stress may be caused by twisting or violent muscle contraction.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Severe arm pain at the time of injury.
  • Swelling of soft tissue around the fracture.
  • Visible deformity if the fracture is complete and the bone fragments separate enough to distort,normal arm contours.
  • Tenderness to the touch.
  • Numbness and coldness in the arm and hand if the blood supply is impaired.

Treatment

Follow your doctor's instructions. These instructions are supplemental.

  • Immobilization will be necessary. It can take several forms, depending on the fracture:
    (1) Placement of surgical nails or pins to hold fragments together for fractures of tubercles. Usually only minimal external , immobilization is necessary after surgery.
    (2) Hanging cast for fractures of the neck of humerus A hanging cast is one placed on the lower arm to provide weight to overcome muscle spasms so the fractured bones will realign themselves.
    (3) Shoulder-to-wrist rigid cast for uncomplicated shaft fractures.
  • If a cast is not necessary, continue R.I.C.E. instructions for 48 hours.
  • After 48 hours, apply heat. Localized heat promotes healing. by Increasing blood circulation in the Injured area. If no cast is necessary,use hot baths,use showers, compresses, heating ointments and liniments, or whirlpools. If a cast is necessary, use heat lamp or heating pad so heat can penetrate the cast.
  • After the cast is removed, use frequent ice massage. Fill a large Styrofoam cup with water and freeze. Tear a small amount of foam from the top so ice protrudes. Massage firmly over the injured area in a circle about the size of a baseball. Do this for 15 minutes at a time, 3 or 4 times a day.

Home Diet

  • Drink only water before manipulation or surgery to treat the fracture. Solid food in your stomach makes vomiting while under anesthesia more hazardous.
  • During recovery, eat a well-balanced diet that includes extra protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk and eggs. Increase fiber and fluid intake to prevent constipation.
Prevention
  • Build your strength with a good conditioning program before beginning regular athletic practice or competition. Increased muscle mass helps protect bones and underlying tissue.
  • If you have had an arm injury, use padded arm splints when participating in contact sports.

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