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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On Sunday evening my daughter fell off her horse and broke her right arm, just a couple inches below her shoulder. I understand that it cant be casted because of the location, but shouldnt the doctor have at least wrapped it in an ace bandage or something before putting her arm in a sling?
We spent almost the whole day in town yesterday because our regular family doctor said it was a bad enough break that he would feel more comfortable sending her to the orthopedic surgeon.
Anyone here have experience with an arm broken that high up? She is hurting and miserable, and I just want something to immobilize that arm a little better!
 

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Appalachian American
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I'm not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on TV, but it would seem to me that you could help her by snugly wrapping the arm at her side (avove the elbow) with an ace bandage around the chest. The bandage should only be tight enough to keep the arm still and not slip when she moves.

Before I did that, however, I would give the Dr's office a call and discuss that with them.
 

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I had this same break as a 13 year old. Mine had to be set and then it was immobilized by strapping it to my chest. It was an odd setup. they used the "sock" stuff they put inside casts. They cut about a 9 foot section. They cut a hole in it about 3 feet down so I could slide my arm in. then they cut another hole so my hand could come out. The top section came around my neck and was looped down under my wrist and pinned back to itself. The section from by my hand was looped around my ribs and around my arm just above the elbow and pinned back on itself. The arm was completely immobilized and supported. I had that on for 8 weeks.

The day after I got mine off my sister fell and got a green stick fracture in the exact same place. They just put her in a sling for 4 weeks.

Could be your daughters is not a displaced fracture and can safely be treated like my sister's.

Good luck
 

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Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs
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Wow.. a dopelganger! (or however that is spelled)

Friend's kid did exactly that injury this summer, exactly the same way no less. And he ended up having it plated together (surgery) with a halo metal thing, arm out at his side, sleep in a chair for 6 weeks, thing going on. If I were you I'd get mentally prepared for this to be serious. My guess is you are headed to surgery fairly shortly if the injury is the same as the one we had this summer.
 

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My son was hit by a car and his was broken (shattered is more like it) just below the shoulder. Couldn't do surgery at first because the bone was to fragmented to attach anything to, so after a month when the fragments had filled in, they attached a plate and screws. He never had a cast, and we were told that is common for breaks in that location.

Dawn
 

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They don't seem to put things in casts like they used to. You do see a fair number of padded contraptions, alternate casts that inflate, etc. It certainly is OK to go for another second opinion. My DH's doctor didn't diagnose a broken leg as broken!! and did not order an x-ray. I still regret that we did not pursue a case against him on general principles. I thought right along that he was an arrogant S-O-B. I even heard him chastising a PA about disrupting his schedule by asking him to look at DH after she had. Sue
 

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I broke my arm there when I was 12 falling off a horse. I spent 8 weeks in a cast from my shoulder to my waist with the arm next to my side & only my fingers sticking out at my neck. Then I had a sling for 4 weeks.
 

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When my mom was 10 years old back in the 1930's she was hit by a bike and broke her right arm somewhere between the shoulder and elbow and ended up spending six weeks in traction in the hospital but the arm never gave her an ounce of trouble letter in life even when she developed arthritis. Seems like overkill now but it sure allowed that arm to heal completely.
 

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My daughter fell off her horse and broke her arm in about the same place. They put her in a stabilizer sling.

It was supposed to be in there for six weeks, but after three weeks, she had healed. She did have to go through PT though.

ETA: She went swimming the next day, using vet wrap. Worked great!
 

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On Sunday evening my daughter fell off her horse and broke her right arm, just a couple inches below her shoulder. I understand that it cant be casted because of the location, but shouldnt the doctor have at least wrapped it in an ace bandage or something before putting her arm in a sling?
We spent almost the whole day in town yesterday because our regular family doctor said it was a bad enough break that he would feel more comfortable sending her to the orthopedic surgeon.
Anyone here have experience with an arm broken that high up? She is hurting and miserable, and I just want something to immobilize that arm a little better!
I remember being in quite a bit of pain when I broke my leg even with the cast and steel screw holding everything still, never had a broken arm so cant really tell ya much about that. Try to keep her still and you may want to find another doc to check on that. It doesnt sound right to me to not either pin it or cast it but like Jim said, I aint no doctor nor do I pretend to be. I patch myself up most of the time but let others do what they feel is right.
 

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I had almost this same fracture myself this past January. They said as long as it was not a displaced fracture it didn't need casting and might even do more harm than good. I did have to wear a sling for almost three months, at all times except when doing my therapy.

I also ended up sleeping in a chair for months, lol. Of course, I wasn't allowed to lay on that side, and whenever I laid on the other side it pulled on the bad arm and hurt like the devil, and I've never been able to sleep on my back.

The fracture itself healed really well, but I also had a couple of badly torn muscles, and I still haven't gotten my full range of motion or strength back, but due to the muscles, not the fracture.

If you have worries and insurance that will cover it, then by all means get a second opinion! But I don't see anything wrong with just the sling, based on my experience. I didn't have any kind of wrap, even with two badly torn muscles on top of the fracture. Hope this helps alleviate your worries. :)

P.S. It's important to wear the sling correctly too. I was leaving mine too loose at first, and my arm hurt something awful! When the therapist came for the first time, she showed me the correct position, and that made it much better.
 

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I spent many years working as a cast tech in an orthopedic office and a simple sling is the best treatment for this type of break.

Trying to keep an ace wrap on her arm is a constant battle and she will be subjected to pain and a chance of dislocating the fracture every time it has to be re-wrapped. An ace never stays put and once it slips, it can cause sore spots where it bunches up.

The idea of the sling is that she keeps her arm relaxed and hanging down into the sling to its natural, anatomic position. The weight of her arm below the fracture keeps just enough traction for the fracture to heal in the proper position and to keep her humerus straight.

She will be more comfortable at night if she can sleep in a semi-sitting position in a recliner or propped up on the couch. She may need to be reminded to keep her arm relaxed and not to “hold” it with the other hand or to scrunch up the shoulder. She is young and the bone will heal quite fast but may need to keep the sling on a bit longer just to remind her to take it easy when she is active. At her age, she will probably be pretty much healed at one month, but still need to take it easy for a few weeks after until the new bone solidifies. Her doc will take x-rays to confirm how well she is healing and he should be able to show this to you on the view box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you so much everyone for the replies!

The nurse is calling in a Rx for pain for my dd, and they didnt know what to tell me about the ace bandage but said they'd ask the dr when he came in from surgery. Although, snowshoehair's explanation sure did make good sense! What about wrapping the arm to the chest though like someone else suggested? I'm going to ask him that.

I appreciate hearing everyone's perspectives and some of yall really made me thankful this break is not near as bad as it coulda been!
 

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Failure is not an option.
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Hey.

Sounds like you need to get rid of Dr. Nick.

My daughter broke her arm recently and they used an adjustable plastic shell wrapped with an ace bandage to immobilize it. The doctor told me they don't use plaster casts anymore...

RF
 

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Casts are only useful where both the joint right above and the joint right below the fracture can be completely immobilized. There is no way to immobilize a human shoulder with a cast (though the elbow can be) so fractures of the humerus (the large upper arm bone) are not cast. My elderly mom has broken her upper arm twice over the years and the only immobilization she got both times was a sling.
 

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I broke mine there at age 50 the same way. No cast, they did wrap, but only for swelling. That was the most painful break I've had.
 

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Hi Ark, sorry I couldn't get back here sooner - internet problems.

Sorry I didn't address that particular question, about wrapping the arm to the upper body. Doing this would throw the humerus out of alignment and it would heal crooked. This would be a good idea if you had to haul her out of the woods and it was only a temporary way of immobilizing her. But by pulling her arm in to her body, it would cause the humerus to bow out... to sit at an angle and it wouldn't heal properly. It probably wouldn't be comfortable for her either.

A plastic shell, like Rocky is talking about, is only good if the fracture is lower in the humerus.

I just wanted to add that the best thing for her right now is patience and time. She did, after all, break her arm… and it will hurt for a while.

Make sure she gets whatever the doc prescribed for pain and try to keep her quiet and relaxed. The first few days and the first week are the worst for her and everyone else. But it will get better…. it will!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Aha! Thanks Lori, that does make perfect sense, and I was afraid there'd be a good reason NOT to wrap the arm to the body like that.
Thanks for answering that question since I never did get an answer from the dr yesterday.
He prescribed 500 mg of hydrocodone for a 12 yr old! Or, the nurse did. Good grief, I can take a HALF of one of those and it totally kills the pain when my back goes out. I gave her a little less than a half - those things are hard to divide, other than strictly in half. About an hour later she was up off the couch where she had spent the entire day. She came in the kitchen and said "If I could just not have this broken arm I would go outside and run and play. And ride the horse." :nono: Then she ate some supper and after awhile she actually acted BORED! OMG! :clap:
We have our 4-H meeting/Christmas party tonight which she has been looking forward to for WEEKS. She told me she doesnt want to go to it now. Her big brother said "Think of all the attention you'll get!" And she said, "Yeah, that's why I dont want to go." lol But, we have to go because it counts toward showing.
Thanks all for the help! Our biggest problem now seems to be that darn sling strap hurting the neck. I put some flannel under it and that helped for a while.
Then I out a piece of memory foam cut off the mattress pad under there and although big and bulky, she was thrilled with it!
 

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Just wanted to add a bit of info about bone healing: another reason that immobilizing isn't always best is that bone needs a bit of "stress" in order to heal- the stress encourages the laying down of callous and then firmer bone cells. not too much stress, mind you, but just enough for the body to say "oh! better strengthen that spot!"

Also, I've had great success with using Comfrey poultice on fractures....(also known as "knit-bone"......my young horse has a NECK fracture (oh gosh!) at his c4-c5 vertebrae. The Comfrey poultice reduced his healing time from 6 months to 4 months....
 
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