Causes of a Broken Arm: Types and Statistics

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Curious about the causes of a broken arm? According to WebMD, “Almost all injuries to the arm that result in a broken bone are caused in 2 ways: falls and direct trauma.” It goes on to state that while broken arms are common in both adults and children, the locations of the breaks tend to differ.

In adults, broken arms are most commonly arm fractures, while in children they tend to be broken collarbones and forearm fractures. Overall, wrist fracture is the most common fracture that occurs across the United States in people under age 75, according to data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey & American Academy of Orthopaedic.

Broken Arm Caused by Falls

The most common type of fall that causes a broken arm is when the outstretched hand is fallen upon. This can cause a fracture that goes from the wrist to the shoulder.

Broken Arm Caused by Direct Trauma

Direct trauma means some type of blow or impact upon the site that causes injury. Car accidents and sports accidents are common causes of this type of broken arm.

Broken Arm Symptoms

Some fractures can easily be mistaken by the patient for other types of injuries. The symptoms of a broken arm are usually a lot of pain experienced by the patient in the arm that increases when the arm is moved, a decrease in the ability to move the arm or feel sensations with it, swelling in the arm around the affected site, some type of difference in appearance when compared to the other arm and sometimes a wound where bone may have broken the skin.

Broken Arm Statistics

ABC News cited a report from the Mayo Clinic in which it was revealed that in the past 30 years fractures of the forearm have increased in children in the area studied. The increase was 56 percent in girls; 32 percent in boys. The suspected cause is insufficient calcium intake by the youngsters. This is because children tend to drink more sugary drinks, such as sodas, and juices than they do milk, currently.


The causes of a broken arm can occur due to unavoidable accidents, such as falling on ice or being in a car accident, but ingesting sufficient calcium can help strengthen bones, which in turn can lessen their susceptibility to breaks. Milk contains not only the calcium the body needs, but the protein, potassium and magnesium that also aid in creating healthy bones. Those who do not drink milk can find supplements or food sources of these vital nutrients in order to help strengthen bones and avoid breaks wherever possible.


WebMD. “Broken Arm”

McKenzie, John. “Rise in Broken Bones in Children”

National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey & American Academy of Orthopaedic “Fractures/Broken Bones Data”