How do you fake a broken arm

Arm fracture (broken arm) - upper arm fracture, forearm fracture

At a Broken arm (Upper arm fracture or forearm fracture) treatment is required. In many cases, surgery is indicated to realign the bones and stabilize the arm. One of the most common cross breaks is a broken radius (radius fracture), one of the two forearm bones. The reason for this is that catching a fall with your arm often causes this break.



Broken bones (fractures) of Humerus (Humerus) and the forearm bones Cubit (Ulna) and spoke (Radius) are caused by large mechanical loads. Very often an arm fracture happens when falling on the hand or the elbow or when catching a fall with the outstretched arm. Sometimes a direct blow to the upper or lower arm or a comparable impact in an accident is also the cause. Occasionally there may also be severe previous damage to the bone substance, for example due to osteoporosis or a tumor, and the bone can then break with relatively little force (pathological fracture).


In principle, fractures can occur in all parts of the humerus as well as the ulna and radius. However, in some areas they are much more common than in others. The fracture of the distal end of the spoke with displacement of the fragment towards the thumb and back of the hand (Colles fracture) is the most common bone fracture that can occur in humans. In technical terms, spoke fractures near the wrist are called radius fractures.

If you break your arm, there is pain and reduced mobility. The tissue is swollen and in many cases there is a bruise. If the fracture is displaced, the arm can be visibly deformed at the point;

As a rule, tissue around the bones such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels or the skin is also injured. There can also be nerve damage, which can lead to paralysis and sensory disturbances.

Typical symptoms of a cross break are:

  • severe pain and tenderness
  • Bruise and swelling
  • Difficulty moving your hand or arm
  • Change of shape of the hand or arm
  • Clicking noise at the time of injury
  • Bruising, when the bone has damaged the skin
  • Parasitic sensation disorders and numbness

Because of the shock and pain that the broken arm can cause, some patients feel weak, dizzy, and light-headed.


The patient is questioned (anamnesis), in particular about how the accident happened, as well as a physical examination with a thorough assessment of the affected area. The break can often be seen on X-rays. Sometimes additional imaging tests, such as computed tomography (CT), are needed.

Differential diagnosis

The individual possibilities of fractures must be differentiated from one another and from arm injuries without bone involvement.


Conservative therapy

In many cases, non-surgical therapy can be performed in the event of crossbreaks. To do this, the affected bone is first set up again, if necessary, which usually requires anesthetic (local or general anesthesia). The bone is usually stabilized for several weeks. This is done with a tight bandage, plaster of paris or special splints. During the period of conservative treatment, the healing process is checked with X-rays and other examinations.


Surgery is often required for complicated and displaced fractures. Local or general anesthesia is used for the operation of a fracture of the upper or lower arm. For surgery, a tight cuff can be placed on the arm to temporarily stop the blood flow (tourniquet). This can reduce bleeding and improve the view of the operating area.

The fragments are returned to the correct position. This usually requires an open operation. Sometimes it is sufficient to set it up without exposure under X-ray control. As a rule, the bone fragments are attached to one another in the correct position with foreign material such as screws, plates, internal nails or wire. In some cases an external fixator needs to be applied, a special structure for broken bones that is located outside the body. One such construction includes an outer metal frame that is attached to the bone with screws.

After the procedure, a bandage is applied to the area. In order to gain additional stability, a plaster of paris or a splint can also be used, but this can also be omitted so that movement exercises can be carried out better. Sometimes an extension bandage must be applied to stretch the bone after an operation.

Depending on the requirements, the foreign material that was used to fix the bone fragments can either be left in the body or removed in a further operation. Sometimes it may be necessary to remove it earlier if the material causes discomfort.

Possible extensions of the operation

If there is too little bone substance in the fracture area, bone tissue may have to be transferred. The original material for such a bone transfer is often taken from pelvic bones. Sometimes foreign bone or bone substitute material is also used to bridge the fracture.

If there is severe contamination or inflammation, antibiotic carriers, e.g. B. chains are inserted into the area. It is also sometimes useful to leave the tissue open first (open wound treatment) and to close it at a later point in time.

If there is very severe damage to a joint, it may need to be stiffened (arthrodesis).

Depending on the surrounding structures, which are also damaged, further measures may be necessary. At times, extensive plastic surgery procedures may also be necessary.

It is not uncommon for certain findings to become apparent only in the course of the operation, so that further measures that were not planned become necessary. This can also be the case if complications arise.


Surgery can injure structures nearby. Bleeding, secondary bleeding and bruising may occur. A nerve injury can lead to sensory disorders and symptoms of paralysis. Infections, wound healing disorders and excessive scarring can occur. A possible blood congestion cuff can cause pressure damage, e.g. B. paralysis caused. In rare cases, foreign materials can be so stressed that they break.

Various other problems can be caused by non-surgical therapy as well as surgery or follow-up treatment. The pressure in the bandage can damage nerves and blood vessels. The bones can heal in the wrong position with respect to each other. False joint formation can also occur (pseudarthrosis), which can severely limit stability. Sometimes it comes to wear, decreased mobility or stiffness of joints. Broken bones in childhood can lead to growth problems. Bones and muscles can become weaker due to the restriction of movement. It is also possible that the so-called Sudeck syndrome may occur, in which the bone is severely broken down and a painful inflammation results. Allergic reactions of any severity can occur.

Note: This section can only give a brief overview of the most common risks, side effects and complications and is not intended to be exhaustive. This cannot replace a conversation with the doctor.


In many cases, after surgery or good conservative treatment, the bones will heal together without any problems. The mobility of the arms is often not or not significantly restricted. Nevertheless, a good treatment result cannot be guaranteed, especially in the case of severe injuries involving surrounding structures. Another surgical procedure may be necessary.


Before the operation

In many cases, drugs that inhibit blood clotting, such as Marcumar® or Aspirin®, have to be discontinued before an operation. This is always done in consultation with the doctor.

After the operation

If an operation is performed on an outpatient basis, the patient should no longer drive a car or use machines for 24 hours. Therefore, he should be picked up. Significant decisions should also be postponed.

If the pain is more severe, the doctor can give pain medication.

The arm must be given extra care for a few weeks. Elevating the arm supports the healing process. Joints that are not involved in the fracture should be moved a lot. Physiotherapy makes sense. Sports and other activities that exert stress on the affected arm should only be practiced if the doctor no longer sees any particular danger in them.

Regular check-ups should be followed conscientiously. If there are any particularities that could indicate complications, the doctor should be contacted in order to carry out any treatment that may be necessary.