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Immobilizing a Broken Arm


A broken (fractured) arm occurs when a bone in your arm cracks. With personal care and expertise, Dignity Health's Bay Area hospitals can treat simple or complex fractures in any part of the arm, including the wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints. If you need medical attention for a broken arm in the Bay Area, Find a Doctor online. If the fracture is the result of major trauma, seek immediate medical attention or dial 9-1-1

Trauma from falls, sports injuries, and motor vehicle accidents is the most common cause of broken bones in the arm. Weak bones from osteoporosis can contribute to the risk of broken bones.

Broken Arm Symptoms

Symptoms of a broken arm may include:

  • Bruising
  • Deformity, such as a visibly crooked arm or open fracture (bone sticking through skin)
  • Inability to move the arm
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Tingling

Treating Broken Arms at Dignity Health

We are dedicated to providing prompt care for fractures to ensure proper healing. When treating broken bones, the first step is to realign, or set, the bone if it’s out of place. This is called reduction (or reducing the fracture). 

Next, the doctor will apply a cast to keep the bone still (immobilized) and allow it to heal. Most broken arms heal within four to six weeks. Your Dignity Health doctor may prescribe antibiotics if you have an open fracture, because such injury increases the risk of infection. In some more complicated cases, surgery may be necessary.

Your doctor may recommend rehabilitation exercises or physical therapy after your cast is removed. This will help you regain arm function, strength, and range of motion. Dignity Health’s four Bay Area hospitals offer rehabilitation, physical therapy, and sports medicine at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco, Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, and Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz.

Our experts will see to your well-being throughout each step of treatment. To request a doctor referral, call 888.533.8760 today.

Dignity Health provides treatment and rehabilitation for a broken arm in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.