Arm Injuries and Disorders

Of the 206 bones in your body, 3 of them are in your arm; the humerus, radius and ulna. Your arms are also made up of muscles, joints, tendons and other connective tissue. Injuries to any of these parts of the arm can occur during sports, a fall or an accident.

Types of arm injuries include

Tendinitis and bursitis
Sprains
Dislocations
Broken bones
Some nerve problems, arthritis, or cancers can affect the entire arm and cause pain, spasms, swelling and trouble moving. You may also have problems or injure specific parts of your arm, such as your hand, wrist, elbow or shoulder.

Arm pain

Arm pain can be caused by a wide variety of problems, ranging from joint injuries to compressed nerves. Depending on the cause, arm pain can start suddenly or develop over time. In many cases, arm pain actually originates from a problem in your neck or upper spine. Arm pain, particularly pain that radiates into your left arm, can even be a sign of a heart attack.

Self-care
Even serious arm injuries can be helped initially with home treatment. If you think that you have a broken arm or wrist, apply ice packs to the affected area and use a sling to help hold your arm still until you can get medical care.

If you have a compressed nerve or repetitive strain injury, be consistent about therapy; maintain good posture; and take frequent breaks at work and during repetitive activities, such as playing an instrument or practicing your golf swing.

Most other types of arm pain will get better on their own, especially if you start R.I.C.E. measures within 48 hours of your injury.

  • Rest. Take a break from your normal activities.
  • Ice. Place an ice pack or bag of frozen peas on the sore area for 15 to 20 minutes three times a day.
  • Compression. Use a compression bandage to reduce swelling.
  • Elevation. If possible, elevate your arm to help reduce swelling.

Arnica

Arnica  is a genus of perennial, herbaceous plants in the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The genus name Arnica may be derived from the Greek arni, “lamb”, in reference to the plants’ soft, hairy leaves. Arnica is also known by the names Mountain Tobacco and, confusingly, Leopard’s bane and Wolfsbane—two names that it shares with the entirely unrelated genus Aconitum.

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Arnica plants have a deep-rooted, erect stem that is usually unbranched. Their downy opposite leaves are borne towards the apex of the stem. The ovoid, leathery basal leaves are arranged in a rosette.

They show large yellow or orange flowers, 6–8 cm wide with 10–15 cm long ray florets and numerous disc florets. The phyllaries (a bract under the flowerhead) has long spreading hairs. Each phyllary is associated with a ray floret. Species of Arnica, with an involucre (a circle of bracts arranged surrounding the flower head) arranged in two rows, have only their outer phyllaries associated with ray florets. The flowers have a slight aromatic smell. If taken in the wrong dose it can be very dangerous.

The seedlike fruit has a pappus of plumose, white or pale tan bristles. The entire plant has a strong and distinct pine-sage odor when the leaves of mature plants are rubbed or bruised.

Commercial Arnica preparations are frequently used by professional athletes. According to The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, “A few clinical trials suggest benefits of topical arnica for osteoarthritis; and for affecting significant reduction of bruising compared to placebo or low concentration vitamin K ointments. However, a small study reported that topical arnica actually increased pain 24 hours after calf exercises.

Arnica Uses

Early studies of topical arnica gels and ointments for arthritis symptoms of the hand and knee — like pain and swelling — have been positive. So far, research is mixed on whether arnica skin treatments can help ease muscle pain.

If eaten, the actual herb is toxic and can be fatal. However, some oralsupplements contain highly diluted arnica. These are considered homeopathic treatments. These low-dose arnica tablets are safe to use and have been studied for muscle pain, diabetic eye damage, and swelling and pain after surgery. More research needs to be done to establish effectiveness for those problems. A study of children with cancer, however, found that homeopathic low-dose arnica may help reduce mouth ulcers related to chemotherapy.

Because of the risks of pure arnica, the FDA classifies it as an unsafe herb. Doctors who practice complementary medicine generally advise against using arnica in any form other than in a highly diluted homeopathic form.

 

Arthritis

If you feel pain and stiffness in your body or have trouble moving around, you might have arthritis. Most kinds of arthritis cause pain and swelling in your joints. Joints are places where two bones meet, such as your elbow or knee. Over time, a swollen joint can become severely damaged. Some kinds of arthritis can also cause problems in your organs, such as your eyes or skin.

Types of arthritis include

  • Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It’s often related to aging or to an injury.
  • Autoimmune arthritis happens when your body’s immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of this kind of arthritis.
  • Juvenile arthritis is a type of arthritis that happens in children.
  • Infectious arthritis is an infection that has spread from another part of the body to the joint.
  • Psoriatic arthritis affects people with psoriasis.
  • Gout is a painful type of arthritis that happens when too much uric acid builds up in the body. It often starts in the big toe.

Artificial Limbs

People can lose all or part of an arm or leg for a number of reasons. Common ones include

  • Circulation problems from atherosclerosis or diabetes. They may cause you to need anamputation.
  • Traumatic injuries, including from traffic accidents and military combat
  • Cancer
  • Birth defects

If you are missing an arm or leg, an artificial limb can sometimes replace it. The device, which is called a prosthesis, can help you to perform daily activities such as walking, eating, or dressing. Some artificial limbs let you function nearly as well as before.