The prognosis for most arm fractures is very good. But complications may include:

  • Uneven growth. Because a child's arm bones are still growing, a fracture in a growth plate — the area where growth occurs near each end of a long bone — can interfere with that bone's normal growth.
  • Osteoarthritis. Fractures that extend into a joint can cause arthritis there years later.
  • Frozen shoulder. The immobilization required to heal a fracture in the upper arm bone can sometimes result in painfully limited range of motion of the shoulder in all directions.
  • Bone infection. If any part of your broken bone protrudes through your skin, it may be exposed to germs that can cause infection. Prompt treatment of this type of fracture is critical.
  • Nerve or blood vessel injury. If the upper arm bone (humerus) fractures into two or more pieces, the jagged ends may injure nearby nerves and blood vessels. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any numbness or circulation problems.
Aug. 19, 2011