What Does a Hairline Fracture Feel Like in an Arm?

Hairline fractures are among the most common sports injuries and often occur in high impact sports. While many hairline fractures occur in the foot and other bones in the lower limb, it’s possible to experience this injury in your arm. This guide will help you spot a hairline injury in the arm, so you can seek treatment. 

Hairline Fractures in the Arm

Hairline fractures, also called stress fractures, are tiny cracks in the bone. This orthopedic injury can also appear as severe bone bruising. High impact workouts and sports, overuse, and risk factors like osteoporosis lead to hairline fractures. So, athletes like runners, soccer players, and basketball players often experience this injury in the foot. 

However, if you put too much pressure on your arm, a small crack or bruise can develop on the limb. This might happen if you’re lifting heavy weights or putting impact on the arm in a sport like football. Some of the symptoms of a hairline fracture in the arm include:

  • Pain during movement
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

Depending on where the hairline fracture occurred in the arm, you might experience pain when doing activities like writing, reaching for items, and driving. The pain can also be severe when putting stress on the arm during a workout. Hairline fracture pain often becomes worse with time and may feel better when you’re resting your arm

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of a hairline fracture in your arm, be sure to visit a sports injury urgent care clinic. A doctor will perform tests and recommend treatment. Hairline fractures often don’t show up on x-rays, especially if the injury occurred recently, so the doctor may perform an MRI or bone scan to spot the crack or bruising. 

Treatment for a hairline fracture looks different than that of a more severe fracture. You likely won’t need a cast, but the doctor may recommend that you wear a brace to keep your arm immobile. You should also rest your arm and use ice to control the pain. The doctor may recommend taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. 

While hairline fractures are small, they can take about six to eight weeks to heal. You will likely need to see your doctor for several follow-up appointments to check that your arm is healing correctly. In the meantime, be sure to take a break from sports and workouts as directed by the doctor. Using your arm too much can cause the hairline fracture to worsen, which can lengthen the healing process. 

While it’s easy to ignore the pain of a hairline fracture initially, this injury can become more severe without treatment. Fortunately, the team at Sport Ortho Urgent Care is here to diagnose and treat severe to acute sports injuries, including hairline fractures. With locations in Hendersonville, Murfreesboro, and Mt. Juliet, TN, we accept clients on a walk-in basis. You can also make an appointment through our website. Contact us today with questions about our hours and services. 

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