Arm Injuries and Problems

Arm injuries vary depending on the nature and severity of the injury in question. Minor arm injuries are common among all people, regardless of lifestyle or level of physical activity, and include injuries like basic cuts and bruises. Major injuries like broken bones and torn ligaments are often the result of a physically active lifestyle or injury from a direct blow or fall. Wrists, fingers, forearms, and hands are the most commonly affected areas.

Chances of injury increase for those who exercise frequently, play sports (especially contact sports), or work in environments that require strenuous physical activity. Children are more prone to arm injuries from falling or playing outside due to their typically active behavior, whereas older people typically suffer arm injuries as a result of the weakened bones, muscles, and tendons that accompany old age.

Types of Arm Injuries

Acute

Acute injuries occur suddenly, normally as a result of falling, suffering a direct blow, or bending the arm at an abnormal angle. Pain can be sudden and severe, depending on the nature of the injury. Common types of acute injuries include:


  • Bruises: When the arm suffers impact or pressure, the blood vessels under the skin can break, causing swelling, tenderness, and discoloration.
  • Tendon injuries: These strong tissues that connect muscle to bone can be overstretched, strained, or torn entirely.
  • Strains: Suddenly twisting or bending the arm in an abnormal direction can cause pulled muscles.
  • Broken bones: Sudden impact or excessive pressure can cause a fracture in the bone, ranging from hairline fractures to complete breaks.
  • Dislocation: Acute injuries can pull or push major bones in the arm out of their normal positions. Shoulder dislocations are especially common and can affect range of motion in the arm.

Overuse

Overuse injuries happen over time due to frequent, repetitive strenuous arm movements that can weaken joints and deteriorate tendons. Some common overuse injuries include:


  • Bursitis: Friction in the joint can cause the bursa–the small sacs of fluid that cushion bones in the joint–to become inflamed, swollen, and painful.
  • Tendinitis: Overuse can lead to pain, swelling, and deterioration in the tendons, which connect the muscles to bone.
  • Stress fractures: Pressure can cause hairline cracks in the bones of the arm.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: Overuse of the arm can lead to pressure on the nerves of the arm, which can cause numbness, tingling, pain, and lack of mobility in the hands and fingers.

Treatment

Treatment for arm injuries varies depending on the severity of the injury. Minor scrapes, bruises, and twisted ankles benefit from home treatment like first aid, rest, and icing the affected area, whereas more serious injuries like broken bones may require prescription medication, surgery, or immobilization methods like braces or casts. Talk to your doctor to find out what treatment methods are best for you.