Injury of shoulder and upper arm: symptoms, treatment, first aid in trauma

The symptoms and treatment of injury of the arm and forearm

Injury closed injury without significant violations of the skin and soft tissues. The most characteristic symptoms are: pain, swelling and bruising that occurs due to multiple hemorrhages in the skin, subcutaneous tissue and muscles. Extremity injury often occurs because of a blow or a fall.

The symptoms of trauma

It is important to distinguish between bruises and fractures, dislocations and sprains of the shoulder. The major symptoms of the injury are:

  • swelling of the injured extremity;
  • the appearance of hemorrhage or hematoma;
  • pain when you touch and try to move my arm;
  • the pain disappears for a while, and then appear again;
  • when serious injury of forearm not necessarily takes place outside hematoma;
  • in more severe injuries injury can also be associated with damage to joints, bones, muscles and ligaments – in this case appear more intense pain and more pronounced swelling of tissues.

Shoulder injury threat possible damage to the bag replacement, that could trigger post-traumatic arthritis. This damage in the joint cavity enters a certain amount of blood, which provokes aseptic inflammation.

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There are 4 degrees of shoulder injury:

  • 1 degree – painful sensations, which disappear after a few days, there may be minor scratches or abrasions;
  • 2 degree – sharp pain along with severe edema, erythema and hematoma;
  • 3rd degree – injury with damage to the skin, muscles and tendons, often complicated by dislocation;
  • 4 degree – violation of the functions of the joint, possible total loss of motor activity, a large hematoma.

Symptoms of injury can accurately establish its presence, however, detection of complications, more research is needed.

For a more accurate diagnosis of possible complications studies:

  • clinical – includes anamnesis, inspection and palpation of the injury site;
  • laboratory analyses are assigned to the case of open wounds and risk of infection;
  • radiation (x-ray, tomography) allow us to obtain the most accurate information about the state of the tissues, therefore, are the main studies for the diagnosis of injuries of the shoulder;
  • additional – for example, when damage to the joint and the pathological accumulation of fluid the patient is administered a puncture of the joint, and in the presence of the myositis muscle, electromyography.

First aid

In case of simple injury of the shoulder without any complications in the form of fracture, dislocation or loss of sensitivity, it is recommended immediately applied to the site of injury cold compress.

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The cold helps to reduce pain, reduce swelling and inflammation in the damaged tissues. Next is to put in place of injury compression bandage. A cold compress should be used for a long time, but every 1-2 hours to take a break and remove the compress for about 20-30 minutes.

We also recommend taking a painkiller with anti-inflammatory effect, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Important! With any severe injury, you must consult a doctor-a trauma surgeon regarding the possible complications. Even with a mild injury to the joint it can accumulate fluid, which should be removed by puncture.

Treatment at home

In the absence of any complications to treat the injury of the forearm or the shoulder joint can be home. You first need to provide the damaged joints to rest, putting an orthopedic bandage or scarf. In the first two days, it is recommended to attach to the site of injury cold compress for 15 minutes every 3 hours. From the third day and it is further recommended that the effect of dry heat.

Compression therapy should be combined with medical treatment. To reduce pain and inflammation used drugs-analgesics, for example, Ketanov, Nimesil or Ketorolac. A good anti-inflammatory effect have a special ointment (Troxevasin, Finalgon, Bystrom gel), which have warming properties, helps to improve blood flow and microcirculation.

After the disappearance of pain and swelling of the tissues, it is necessary to perform a simple exercise — this contributes to the rapid restoration of the health of the joints. Usually restorative complex includes the swing arm, rotational motion, motion of the shoulder forward and backward, flexion and extension of hands and fingers. All exercises should be performed slowly and smoothly, without jerks.

Specialized treatment

There are cases in which not to do without the aid of specialists, and the sooner it will be provided, the better. The ambulance needs to call in the event of such complications of the injury:

  • loss of sensation of the skin of the shoulder, hand, or forearm;
  • pallor and cooling of the skin hands are the result of poor patency of blood vessels;
  • closed or open fracture of the hand;
  • dislocation;
  • weakness in the muscles of the arm or paralysis (loss of ability to contract);
  • trauma to multiple body parts.

If you call the emergency assistance impossible, after first aid should be immediately transport victim to a medical facility in order to prevent blood loss, infection or other damage.

Recovery from lung injuries of shoulder and upper arm is one to two weeks. If there is serious damage of bone and muscle tissue will take a longer time. The treatment of the most complex injuries, with damage to the joint capsule and cartilage, can last several years.

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Why not raise a hand after an injury?

When injury mobility of the arms is preserved, however, may be limited. If the arm is immobilized is talking about a possible dislocation or fracture of the humerus.

Some injuries are complicated by damage to the brachial plexus nerve, which provides nerve cells all tissues and shoulder muscles. After injury of the nerve plexus may appear paralysis of the muscles, due to which lose the ability to raise your hand.

The symptoms of these injuries are different. Fracture or dislocation of all the signs — pain, swelling, and hemorrhage are localized in the shoulder region (if there is no nerve damage). If damaged nerve plexus pain will occur above and below the shoulder, there will be observed the loss of skin sensitivity, and the impossibility of contraction of the muscles of the entire hand.

In the presence of such symptoms should urgently take the victim to the hospital where they performed all the necessary tests and identified all the tissue damage. The treatment of these injuries is carried out only in the Department of traumatology of qualified professionals.

Important! Before transportation of the injured limb it is necessary to impose immobilization splint in order to avoid further damage.

Next, we analyze the possible causes of limiting the mobility of the hand after injury.

A dislocated shoulder

Shoulder dislocation, or shoulder joint, is defined by a sudden sharp pain and a sharp decline in the health of the joint. Also shifting the normal position of the arm or shoulder, causing the asymmetry. Dislocation is usually accompanied by a weakening of pulsation in the radial artery due to displacement of the humeral head, which compresses the trunk of the vessel. Another common symptom of dislocation is limited mobility and decreased sensation of the hand and fingers.

Fracture of the humerus

For shoulder fracture is characterized by severe pain, swelling, and deformity of the bones. Most often, the fractures are localized in the upper third of the humerus: the head or surgical neck. Rarely injured the middle portion, or diaphysis, and the lower (distal) part. This area is also called condylar, fracture – christmasalbum. Fractures of head and distal part of the humerus attributed to intra-articular fractures.

Trauma to the shoulder joint may be accompanied by damage to nerves, arteries, and muscles of the shoulder. The most reliable method for diagnosis of fracture – x-ray, if you suspect the presence of intra-articular fracture or muscle tissue damage – ULTRASONIC diagnostics.


Ligaments – connective tissue that allows you to securely hold the joint in a natural position and to ensure its correct movement. If there is a dramatic shift in the boundaries of natural trajectories of movement of the joint, there is a sprain — the fibers of the connective tissue. It can be full or partial. In fact, stretching is always a gap of fabrics, from microreserve fibers to complete rupture of all ligaments.

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Symptoms of sprain are sudden severe pain, swelling, bruising and reduced mobility of the joint. Depending on the severity of also can appear fever, severe hemorrhage and hyperemia.

Inflammation of the muscles

Inflammation, or myositis of the muscles, is the result of physical trauma, infectious diseases, parasites, appears after exposure to cold or excessive tension of the muscles, and can also be a professional disease, if the same muscle group regularly uncongested. Myositis may manifest with muscle pain, weakness, and in some cases even muscle atrophy. Inflammation of a large number of muscles called polymyositis.

The main symptoms of myositis: pain in motion and when touched, aching pain in muscles, palpation clearly felt the strands. Can also worsen a headache, edema and hyperemia. If untreated, the patient rapidly becomes worse.

Damage tendons

There are two types of tendon injuries: open and closed, or subcutaneous. Damage closed type usually occur as a result of sudden movement or strong blow, and open impossible without the appearance of the wound.

Tendon rupture can be complete or partial. The main feature of this type of injuries is that they are not fused independently. When a strong pain muscles contract, and the ends of the tendons diverge, forming a diastasis.

The main symptom tendon injuries – the lack of movement in the corresponding muscle. Additionally for diagnosis is ULTRASOUND diagnostics, which allows you to see the severed ends of the tendons.

Nerve damage

A strong injury can lead to peripheral nerve injury. When damaged, the closed type is often there is a partial damage, but if the injury is complicated by the dislocation of a major joint or a bone fracture, it can lead to a complete break of one or more nerves.