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You may not realize it but aside from allowing you to grip, pull, and lift objects, your arms also play a role in body movement and balance. Notice how you swing your arms when you walk and run, extend them outward to maintain your balance, and use them to break a fall.
Your arm is made up of a complex network of ligaments, muscles, tendons, and 3 long bones. The bone in your upper arm is known as the humerus while the two bones in your forearm are the radius and ulna. These structures work together to make your arms function effectively.
Arm injuries commonly result from vehicular crashes, sports accidents, and falls. The most common arm injuries include fractures, tendinitis, and dislocations.
A fracture is a break in the bone caused by a strong outside force that far exceeds the bone threshold. People who participate in contact sports, as well as people with bone diseases like osteoporosis, are at risk of suffering from a fracture.
There are different kinds of fracture but they are divided into two major classifications: closed and open. A closed fracture is usually characterized by an obvious deformity, swelling, limited movement, and pain in the injured area. On the other hand, an open fracture comes with an open wound in the area as the bone tore through the skin.
To administer the first aid treatment, immobilize and splint the injured area to prevent the bones from slipping out of place, which will cause further soft tissue damage. In case of an open fracture, apply a direct pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding while being careful not to move the bone. Secure the broken bones with splints to immobilize them. After securing the injury, bring the patient to the nearest emergency department.
A dislocation happens when a strong external force pushed your bone out of alignment. Dislocations usually happen in the elbow, wrist, knees, shoulders, and ankles. The injury is characterized by an obvious deformity in the joint, swelling, and intense pain.
Do not attempt to pop the dislocated bone back in its socket. In the first aid treatment of a dislocation injury, immobilization of the arm is crucial. Splint the affected arm the way you see it. Never attempt to straighten the injury, no matter how crooked it looks. Finally, secure it with an arm sling to prevent unnecessary movement.
Tendinitis is the medical term for an inflamed tendon. Your tendons connect your bones and muscles together and play an important role mobility. Tendonitis is also called tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. Although tendinitis can occur as a result of a direct trauma, the most cause of this condition is a repeated injury to the elbow.
Since tendinitis is a result of overuse and micro-trauma to the tendons, resting the affected arm is usually recommended. Apply a cold pack to numb the pain and ease the swelling. You can also wrap the elbow with an elastic bandage to provide additional support and to immobilize the injury.
Suffering from an arm injury can greatly affect your quality of life. Do not fret, however, for there is a high chance of recovery as long as you follow your doctor’s advice and attend regular physiotherapy sessions.