The most common sites of childhood fractures are wrists, arms, elbows and ankles, which usually occur after a fall.
If a child breaks a bone in their arm, they may have a plaster cast to protect it whilst it heals. Your child’s treatment will depend on where their fracture is. They may also require surgery.
Your clinician will explain which treatment is best for your child’s fracture. Broken bones heal quite quickly in children so they usually only have to stay in cast for 4-8 weeks. The cast will be removed once the fracture has healed.
Gentle range of movement exercises can be encouraged as soon as the cast is removed as well as encouraging your child to start to use that arm in their daily activities. It is normal for them to favour the other side initially as they are used to the injured arm being immobilised whilst in the cast.
Range of movement of all joints of the injured arm should be completed little and often throughout the day.
Below are some movements to encourage with children once their cast has been removed to reduce stiffness, swelling and start strengthening their arm muscles.
Elbow Flexion and Extension
Wrist Flexion and Extension
Radial and Ulnar Deviation
Supination and Pronation
Encourage play with playdough, putty or slime. This will encourage grip strength and improve hand dexterity.
Below are some examples of wrist and arm stretches. Hold these positions for 30 seconds, and repeat 3 times daily. Your child should feel a slight stretch/pulling feeling but it shouldn’t be painful.
Once you have gained full range of movement in the injured arm and your physio has assessed your movement, you can progress to strengthening your arm with the following exercises.
Throwing and catching
Below are some examples of throwing exercises that you could complete. Complete 12 repetitions and 3 sets of each.
Elbow extension with theraband
Elbow flexion with theraband
Weighted active movements
Complete the same movements you did for ‘range of movement exercises’ but with a light weight. For instance a tennis ball, tin of food or bottle.
The weight can be progressed as able within your comfort zone. Complete 12 repetitions and 3 sets of each.
Wall push up
If you have any concerns or queries about this information please contact Dolphin Outpatients on 02921 847577.
If your child does not have an appointment arranged with physio and symptoms continue or are not improving gradually, then you can self-refer your child to the Paediatric Physiotherapy Outpatient Department by telephoning the our referral line on 02921 836908.
The Coral Reef Outpatients Department is open for plaster problems from Monday – Friday, 08:15 – 15:30. Contact 02921847991 or 02921847569
Outside of these hours please contact the emergency unit on 02920748018 or 02920748094
University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park Way, Cardiff, CF14 4XW
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