1. lonelystar

    lonelystar Member

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    Broken arm

    Discussion in 'Research' started by lonelystar, May 5, 2019.

    I've never broken a bone so need some advice.

    My female mc has a broken left arm.
    1. Is a broken arm always put in plaster?
    2. Do you always get a sling? What are they made of? What does it feel like?
    3. How restricted is movement?
    4. How painful and how is the pain managed?
    5. Would a pair of handcuffs go over a wrist if the arm is broken and in plaster? She is attacked by someone while her arm is broken.
    6. How long is recovery and how is the plaster removed?

    And anything else you can think of I might have forgotten. Thanks
     
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Contributor

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    I think essentially the broken limb can be immobilized by even
    something as simple as a wooden splint. The whole reason to
    keep the broken limb in a rigid state is to allow the bones to
    grow back together, otherwise leaving it to just be as it is under
    normal condition it might not mend, or mend in a wonky fashion.
    (Though it seems standard practice to use a plaster cast, or a fiber
    glass wrap that is made rigid, in modern medical treatment).
    They have a special oscillating saw with a blade that cuts through
    the cast material, but some how doesn't cut skin, despite being made
    of metal. (Further research into that in your own time, cause it's a thing)

    As for a sling, I think they are made out of nylon, and IDK if they issue
    them for every type of arm fracture. And IDK what it is like to wear one.
    Though like the splint, you can makeshift a sling out of a piece of clothing,
    or a rope, or something pliable if you need to.

    As for the rest of what you ask, IDK, and would take a fair amount of research
    into the matter, cause that is a lot of info to look for in some highly specific
    topics.

    Paging @GingerCoffee :)
     
  3. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Senior Member

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    I am autistic and my reactions to pain are usually not exactly similar with NT folks. (I don't like to make that ridiculous drama as much as most NT:s.)

    3. I broke both arm bones near wrist a little less than 2 years ago. With bigger bone the broken area was in the wide area of bone very near wrist.

    I cleared that worksite and drove to health care center.

    You can say that I couldn't use that broken hand at all. I had to do almost everything with the healthy hand.

    4. It hurts. It is hard to tell how much. More than broken toe. Less than broken legbone in which the smaller part turns away.

    I'm not sure I understand what you mean by that "how is the pain managed". You manage it. Days go and so do you.

    6. If I remember it right the plaster was 5-6 weeks. They took X-ray pictures to see if it is ok to take it away.

    It was a little less than 2 years ago. It is not ok yet. The broken place in bigger bone was compressed. So that bone is a bit shorter it should be. (Usually you can see broken lines in X-Rays in black colour because there is no bone. This was whiter than bone because it was in wide spongy area of bone and was compressed.)

    They cut the (plastic) plaster away with a funny tool which look dangerous but is not.

    P.S.

    Funny detail:

    The absolutely most difficult thing was to wash the armpit of the healthy hand. I'm not very flexible and that was bloody difficult thing to do.

    Or maybe that was second hardest. I had to be long time without sauna and I'm a Finn. That was hard.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
  4. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    My mother broke her arm just after xmas

    1- not straight away, mums was put in a half cast first to allow the swelling to subside before it was plastered

    2- it varies - originally mum was given a triangular bandage made of cotton, after full casting this was swapped for a loop of nylon a bit like a wide belt

    3- that depends on how bad the break is, which bones are involved and so forth... in mums case she broke the radius and cracked the ulna near the wrist - she lost virtually all use of the hand for 6 weeks and it only just came back with physio around week 12 - at week 16 she has about 80% function

    4- depends on the persons pain threshold... mum said it was more of an ache than a pain once the arm had been imobilised - but mum is a tough cookie, she gave birth to both me and my sister with no pain relief. For the arm she was given, but did not take until i insisted codeine based pills

    5- obviously not relevant to mum's case but i doubt it since the arm wouldn't be plastered straight away. I imagine that the good arm would be restrained either by cuffing to an officer or to a restraint belt.

    6- mums cast came off at week ten then she had 6 weeks of physio of which shes done two (it appears that one of the bones moved and will now need to be rebroken and pinned but thats by the by). They cut the plaster off with a special vibrating saw that cuts the plaster by vibration but will not cut human flesh (it can burn you though if the doc goes to slowly)
     
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  5. frigocc

    frigocc Active Member

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    I can only give an EMT perspective, but here goes...

    1. At the scene, it's splinted, usually in place, unless pulse, motor function, or sensory nerves are compromised. If one of those are, you have to place tension on it, and straighten it out. If you try to straighten, and it'll either make them bone break the skin, or there's resistance, stop trying, and splint in place.
    2. Yes. You first use a cravat (triangle bandage), then swathe it with a roller bandage (tie the person's arm against their chest to prevent movement).
    3. They should be able to move their their hand, but you want to completely immobilize the arm.
    4. Depends on the extent of the injury and the person's pain tolerance. Not managed at the scene, other than immobilization and comforting them.
    5. Can't say.
    6. No idea.
     
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  6. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    I've broken bones by unexpectedly getting off my motorcycle (a few times) and I also split the radius bone in my left arm while water skiing. I always avoided the cast. It was initially put on by the emergency doc but I cut it off at home and stabilized it with straps of hard rubber.
    I got the idea from a book I read called All but My Life, by James Purdy, (I think) about Sterling Moss and how he found that a cast atrophied the muscle and slowed healing because of a reduced blood flow. Although the split radius required me to put the cast back on as it kept opening and closing, which prevented healing the other no-cast wounds healed pretty fast.
    I am not a doctor this is just a little of the real world experience.
     
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  7. frigocc

    frigocc Active Member

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    Hopefully no one actually goes by that example and removes their casts. These doctors don't go through years of undergrad, years of medical school, years of residencies, years of fellowships, etc., and come out with outdated or ill-informed medical practices.
     
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  8. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    That brings up a good point for the research not all broken bones require a cast.
    I didn't get one when I exploded the ball on my humerus nor my clavicle, but the op asked about a broken arm so I'll just say when I tried to go without a cast on my broken radius on my left arm it wouldn't heal. And it hurt about half as much as the pain from my exploded humerus.
     
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  9. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'm not home. ;)
     
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  10. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Contributor

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    Okie dokie, and I didn't see ya either. ;)
     
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  11. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Senior Member

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    Well... hmmm....

    No, no, no... Of course not. Not when my hand was broken.
     
  12. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Thy rod and thy Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Okay, my experience of five or six years ago: I FOOSHed, (Fall Onto Outstretched Hand) and broke my right humerus (that's the big bone of the upper arm) near the shoulder bit. I still had mobility in the arm, but it was extremely painful to life above shoulder level and felt best when held tightly to my body, bent at the elbow with my forearm across my stomach. I remember these specifics because they ended up being straight out of the manual on initial diagnosis of a broken upper humerus.

    Yay me.

    However, after taking some x-rays, the doctor said that a cast wasn't necessary since I had a sling that was designed to completely immobilize the arm (a leftover from a separated shoulder years ago). It was similar to this:

    [​IMG]

    I had to wear that for a month, night and day IIRC. I went in for another check one week after the initial diagnosis, then after a month I had another set of x-rays taken and was pronounced fine.

    However, I had some range of motion exercises I had to to. Initially, I wasn't capable of raising my arm over my shoulder. Not that it hurt, it just wouldn't go up any more. I don't remember exactly what the routine he put me on was, but basically a bunch of things to rotate and stretch my shoulder. Basically as good as new now, but it did take a couple months, and there was a lot of muscle atrophy in my arm when I first got it out of the sling.

    Hope this helps, and if you have any other questions, let me know.
     
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  13. lonelystar

    lonelystar Member

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    Thank you everyone for the useful information.

    Has anyone had a shoulder arm sling?
    What injury would mean you got one instead of a regular sling? Is it possible to get both wrists in at the same time?
     
  14. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah baby, and then the therapist that made me exercises was the daughter of Satan and tortured me weekly.
    And if it wasn't for her, I would only have enough movement to take a whiz.
     
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  15. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Contributor

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    [​IMG]
     
  16. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Thy rod and thy Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Let's stay on track please.
     

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