Arm in a cast - broken

After an examination, it has been ascertained that the arm is broken and has to been placed in a cast.

About your visit

We have examined you and have ascertained that you have broken your arm. If necessary, we have relocated the fracture. You have been given a cast to help the fracture heal. You may have been given a sling to wear on the first day.

Your cast will be removed after ___ weeks, either by your general practitioner or at a check-up at Led- og Knoglekirurgi, klinik 1 (Bone and joint surgery, department 1).

When you get home

Contact your general practitioner if the cast is too tight

React immediately if the cast feels too tight and causes irritation or if it feels too big. Contact your general practitioner or dial 1813 to reach the medical helpline outside your general practitioner’s opening hours if:

  • you cannot move your fingers
  • the cast has slid over your knuckles
  • the cast begins to chafe or breaks
  • your arm or hand begins to swell
  • your fingers become very cold or warm
  • your fingers start to tingle
  • your entire hand changes colour
  • your arm starts to hurt badly.

You may bleed under the skin

You may develop bruises or blood spots under your skin that extend to your fingers. These symptoms will go away on their own.

Take pain-relieving medicine if you are in pain

You should take pain-relieving medicine if you are in pain. Pain-relieving medicine can be bought over the counter. Take only the amount of pain reliever recommended on the package. Contact your general practitioner if you need help managing the pain.  

Protect the cast when bathing/showering

Cover your cast with a plastic bag when you are bathing/showering to avoid getting it wet.

Avoid inserting objects to relieve itching

Do not insert objects, such as a knitting needle, into the cast to relieve itching. You risk damaging the skin and causing sores.

The cast can cause irritation

When you have a cast, you will often experience that:

  • you cannot move your wrist
  • your arm becomes sore and tired
  • you sweat under the cast and your skin itches.

If the cast has sharp edges that causes irritation, call the medical hotline at 1813.

Use the sling correctly

Your hand should be elevated above your elbow when wearing the sling. Use the sling on the first day, except at night. If your entire arm is in a cast, use the sling if you are in pain.

Do not wear jewellery on the arm in a cast

Avoid wearing rings on the hand of the arm in a cast as your fingers may swell.

Prevent swelling

To keep your hand from swelling, keep it level with your heart. Rest your arm on a pillow, for example, when you are sitting down.

Use your arm while it is in a cast

Move your arm and fingers as much as possible every day, even while wearing a cast. This will help you maintain mobility and avoid swelling. Use your arm as you normally would when dressing, cleaning and eating. Do not lift heavy objects, for example grocery bags, for six to eight weeks.

Check-ups

If we judge that the fracture is stable, you will have a check-up at your general practitioner after four weeks and have the cast removed. Contact your general practitioner for an appointment.

If the fracture is more unstable, we will call you in either digitally or by letter for a check-up at Led- og Knoglekirurgi, klinik 1 (Bone and joint surgery, department 1).

If your condition deteriorates before your check-up, do not wait, contact your general practitioner. If your condition deteriorates acutely, dial 1813 to reach the medical helpline.

Exercises

Begin rehabilitation immediately

Start doing the exercises while you are wearing the cast. These exercises will help you regain mobility faster. We will guide you through the exercises.

Complete the exercises four to five times a day and repeat each exercise at least 15 times. Relax your shoulders and keep an easy pace.
If you begin to feel pain while doing the exercises, take a 30-minute break and then continue doing the exercises. Remove your sling when you are doing the exercises.

Exercise 1

  • Stretch your fingers.
  • Slowly make a fist by first bending the joints closest to the fingertip, then the middle joints and finally the joints at the base of your fingers.
  • Release the fist and stretch out your fingers.

Exercise 2

  • Make a fist. You can hold a small ball, if needed.
  • Stretch and spread your fingers.

Exercise 3

  • Keep your fingers together and then spread them as far as possible.

Exercise 4

  • Touch your thumb to the base of your little finger. Arch your thumb away from your palm as far as is possible.
  • Return your thumb its original position.

Exercise 5

  • Spread your fingers as far as possible.
  • Touch your thumb to the tip of each of your other fingers by turn. Make a large “O” with each touch. Stretch your fingers between each “O”.

Exercise 6

Support the arm with your other hand if necessary.

  • Bend your elbow as much as possible.
  • Stretch out your elbow again.

Exercise 7

Stand up.

  • Swing your arms in circular motions.

Exercise 8

  • Lift both shoulders towards your ears and hold the position for five seconds.
  • Lower your shoulders and relax.

Exercise 9

Straighten your back, lower your shoulders and keep your arms by your side.

  • Push your chest forward and pull your shoulders back.
  • Let your chest and shoulders relax.   

Exercise 10

Stand up.

  • Arch your back forwards while placing your arms in front of you.
  • Straighten your back and place the back of your hands on your lower back.

Exercise 11

Stand up.

  • Place your palms on the back of your neck.
  • Let go, and place the back of your hand against your lower back.

Exercise 12

  • Raise one or both arms as high as you can. Your elbows should be elevated above your heart. If you only raise one arm, you can support it with the opposite hand.
  • Make a fist. Stretch and spread your fingers.

You can see a video of the exercises on https://regionh.dk/x35 or hold your smartphone camera over this QR code:

Worth knowing

We will assess whether you need to be examined for osteoporosis (brittle bones)

If the fracture could be due to osteoporosis, you should contact your general practitioner for an examination. Osteoporosis is easy to treat, and treatment will reduce the risk of more fractures.

Your personal data

The Capital Region of Denmark uses the personal data you share with us when you make an enquiry. You can read more about how we use your data and your rights on our website: https://regionh.dk/hp9

 

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