Broken Arm Symptoms & Causes

What are the different bones of the arm?

The arm is made up of two parts. The upper arm refers to the part of the limb between the shoulder and elbow. The lower arm (forearm) refers to the part of the limb between the elbow and the wrist.

Ulna: The ulna runs from the tip of the elbow to the little finger side of the wrist.

Radius: The radius is bigger and longer than the ulna and runs from the elbow to the wrist.

Humerus: The humerus is the long bone in the upper arm. One end connects at the shoulder and the other end connects with the radius and ulna at the elbow joint.

Learn more about the different types of fractures in children.

Causes of broken bones

A bone breaks when there’s more force applied to the bone than it can withstand.

Childhood broken arms can be caused by:

Falls: Falling onto an outstretched hand is the most common cause of a broken arm.

Trauma: Direct trauma to the arm (for example, as a result of a car or bike accident) can cause any of a child’s arm bones to break.

Sports injuries: Many broken arms occur as a result of mild to moderate (rather than severe) trauma that happens while children are playing or participating in sports.

Signs and symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of broken arms in children?

Common signs of a broken arm include:

  • pain or swelling
  • a noticeable abnormality, such as bent arm or wrist
  • difficulty using or moving the arm normally
  • warmth, bruising or redness