Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Depending on the severity of the break, your family doctor or the emergency room physician may recommend that you or your child be examined by an orthopedic surgeon.

What you can do

You may want to write a list that includes:

  • Detailed descriptions of the symptoms and the precipitating event
  • Information about past medical problems
  • All the medications and dietary supplements you or your child takes
  • Questions you want to ask the doctor

For a broken arm, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What kinds of tests are needed?
  • What is the best course of action?
  • Is surgery necessary?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
  • What restrictions will need to be followed?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • What pain medications do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask any other questions that you may have.

What to expect from your doctor

During the physical exam, your doctor will inspect the affected area for tenderness, swelling, deformity or an open wound. He or she will probably want to see X-rays of the injury.

Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, including:

  • Did the symptoms come on suddenly?
  • Can you describe what happened to cause the symptoms?
  • Did you or your child experience an injury to trigger the symptoms?
  • How severe are the symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve the symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen the symptoms?
Aug. 19, 2011