A broken arm can mean several different things, since numerous bones might be involved, individually or together. The upper arm consists of a single long bone, the humerus. It has a wonderfully wide array of movements available to it, since the humerus can swing in a nearly perfect circle (think of the softball pitcher), and can also rotate on its long-axis almost 180 degrees. The far end of this bone is the pivot point for the two smaller bones of the forearm, the ulna and the radius. These bones can, when moved in concert, move the hand upward and downward (ulna), but also turn the palm of the hand up and down (radius). The elbow is a critical junction for normal arm and hand movement. Generally, a broken arm means a fracture of one of these three bones. The two smaller bones are held together by ligaments, so fracturing one often causes a fracture in the other. The humerus tends to be a bit weaker on its upper third, so fractures there occur more often. Elbow fractures more often fracture the cup-like ulna, but the circular radius may also be driven from its normal rotary tunnel.
Falls on an outstretched hand will often break the two smaller bones near the wrist, the radius being broken more often than the ulna. Car and motorcycle accidents may fracture any of the three in combination, since there are so many variables. Side-impact collisions tend to fracture the humerus. Frontal impacts often will tag the smaller two bones, since they are first to impact the steering wheel and dashboard of the car.
Motorcycle broken arm injuries are typically more severe, and commonly involve large abrasions or open wounds, many of which are dirty with road debris. These kinds of injuries are far more prone to developing infections in the bones, which can be catastrophic. Skateboarders and bicyclists will often break the smaller bones of the arm, commonly with a collar-bone fracture thrown in for good measure. Repair of these injuries may be simple or extremely complex, requiring surgery and extensive debridement (cleaning). Sometimes the fractured ends can be held together with a splint or cast. At other times, screws and plates must be inserted to hold it all together.
Nearly all human activities require the use of the arm and hand, so a broken arm invariably disrupts some aspect of the victim’s life. Work loss is typical, and daily living chores are indeed a hassle. Medical repairs might well leave a residual disability, even in the hands of skilled practitioners. Bones may heal with peculiar bumps and ridges, and often the tendons that control the wrist and hand are injured or disrupted. Like most things, we appreciate normal function more after an injury. Complications of medical treatment of a broken arm might include casts that become too tight, due to swelling, cutting off vital circulation to the hand. Poor outcomes of surgery may occur due to infection or the extensiveness of the injuries. As the hand is an integral part of being a functional human, fractures to the arm almost always compromise function in some significant way.
Contact a Lawyer About Your Broken Arm Injury
If you have suffered a broken arm injury as a result of a car accident, or negligence of others, Parker Scheer recommends that you consult with a personal injury lawyer and evaluate your case. For your free confidential case review click here and receive a response from one of our attorneys within hours. If you prefer, you can also telephone our offices in Boston seven days a week at toll free .
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