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Types of Physical Therapy for a Broken Arm

by
author image Keith Strange
Keith Strange spent more than a decade as a staff writer for newspapers in the southeastern United States, winning numerous awards for his work. He has a B.S. in wellness/sports medicine from Averett University and completed graduate work in exercise physiology. Strange is a former competitive martial artist and holds a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do.
Types of Physical Therapy for a Broken Arm
A broken arm is likely to require physical therapy. Photo Credit Highwaystarz-Photography/iStock/Getty Images

A broken arm can occur when any one of the three bones that make up your arm, the radius, ulna and humerus, are broken as a result of trauma. The most common cause of the condition is falling down and trying to break your fall by sticking out your arm. Recovery from a broken arm bone can take anywhere from a few weeks to over a month, depending on the type of break and the specific location of your injury. Following a period of immobilization to help your bone heal, your doctor is likely to prescribe physical therapy to help your arm return to its previous condition.

Strength Training

You may have had to keep your arm in a cast for several weeks following your break, and after your cast is removed you may notice a loss of strength in your limb. Strength training is likely to include exercises designed to help restore muscular strength to your arm. These exercises are likely to include bending and straightening your arm under resistance as well as internal and external rotation to help restore strength to your shoulder joint. Be sure that you perform these exercises exactly as prescribed in order to recover as quickly as possible.

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Flexibility Training

Like the strength training exercises listed above, range of motion exercises are probably going to be prescribed to help restore full movement to your arm. The initial exercises are likely to be a bit painful, since your arm has probably been in a cast for several weeks. These exercises will include turning your hand up and down while keeping your elbow stationary, exercises to restore the movement of your elbow joint and even some exercises to restore movement to your shoulder joint.

Occupational Therapy

Depending on your specific job, therapy for a broken arm may include exercises designed to get you ready to return to work. These exercises can include manual manipulation of small parts, lifting exercises that mimic movements made during your work day and exercises that help strengthen specific muscles you use at work.

Sport Specific Therapy

If you’re an athlete, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy to help you speed your return to the playing field. Depending on your sport and your specific injury, these exercises can include throwing motions, catching exercises and exercises designed to help restore your hand-eye coordination. The specific types of exercises depend greatly on your chosen sport and your specific injury, however.

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