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Broken arm or wrist

A broken (fractured) arm or wrist needs to be treated as soon as possible. It typically takes a month or two to heal.

Symptoms of a broken arm or wrist

Picture of a broken wrist

Signs of a broken arm or wrist include:

Because of the shock and pain of breaking your arm, you may also feel faint, dizzy or sick.

It can be hard to tell the difference between a minor break and a sprain. It's best to assume it's a fracture until it has been checked by a doctor or nurse.

What to do if your arm or wrist is broken

If you think you or someone else has a broken arm or wrist:

If your child has injured their arm or wrist, try to get someone else to drive so you can support and comfort them.

Treatment for a broken arm or wrist

When you arrive at the hospital, you'll be given painkillers and a support (splint) may be fixed to your arm to secure it in position.

An X-ray will be carried out to check whether your arm or wrist is broken and how severe the break is.

For a minor fracture:

For more serious fractures:

Recovering from a broken arm or wrist

Your cast will need to stay on until the broken bone has healed. This usually takes a month or two, but can take longer if the break was severe.

While your arm is in a cast:

Speak to your doctor about when you can return to work and normal activities. They will probably suggest gradually increasing how much you use your arm and hand over a few weeks or months.

Your arm or wrist may be stiff and weak after the cast is removed. A physiotherapist can help with these problems, although sometimes they can last several months or more.