It can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between a broken bone, also known as a fracture, and simply a sprain or other injury. Here are six signs that may mean you have a broken arm:
- Arm looks crooked
- Arm is difficult to move
- Arm feels numb or tingly
Visit a hand surgeon if any of these symptoms are true. Any deep cuts that may have occurred during your injury should also be checked immediately since there is a risk of infection. Your hand surgeon or emergency doctor may treat you with a cast or recommend surgery.
Check out the Sprains, Fractures and Other Injuries board on the Hand Society’s Pinterest page for information, images and videos on treatment options for your upper extremity injury.
Dr. John Erickson explains when to visit a doctor for a broken finger.
If you recently injured your finger and are wondering if it is broken, the best thing to do is get an x-ray to find out. You can get x-rays in your physician’s office, urgent care, or local emergency room. Many breaks or fractures in the fingers can be misdiagnosed as “just a sprain” or a “jammed finger.” If a finger fracture is not treated appropriately, the long-term results may not be good. I have heard from many patients “I could still move it, so I didn’t think it was broken.” In many cases, a fracture causes the finger to be stiff and difficult to move; however, this is not true in all cases. When in doubt, get it checked out.
The signs of a broken finger are:
- Pain with range of motion
- Skin lacerations
The wrist bones and hand bones give you the support and flexibility needed to move your hand in all different ways and control objects of all shapes and sizes. There are eight bones in the wrist:
The scaphoid bone is the most commonly injured wrist bone, typically resulting in a scaphoid fracture.
Learn more about the bones of the wrist with the interactive anatomy tool from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.
- Tendonitis: Tendon inflammation is the most common wrist/hand complaint among golfers. Treatment can include rest, splint(s), ice and anti-inflammatory medicine.
- Wrist fractures: A fracture of the hook of the hamate, a small bone in the wrist, is a distinctive golf injury. It can be caused by hitting the club forcefully on the ground and may cause pain, numbness or tingling in the little or ring fingers. Treatment can include a splint, a cast or surgery.
- Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis): Golfer’s elbow is a painful tendonitis on the inner part of the elbow. It can be caused by repeated swinging of the club. Treatment can include rest, physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medicines.
- Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow): Pain on the outer side of the elbow is common with lateral epicondylitis. It can be caused by repeated strain on the dominant arm. Treatment can include rest, physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medicines.
- Golf cart injuries: Unsafe use of golf carts can cause fall-outs and tip-overs, which may result in serious fractures to the hand, wrist, arm, elbow or shoulder. Use caution when driving a golf cart.
Learn more about golf injuries to the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder.