What is arm pain?

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Arm pain in children: Overview

Your child can hurt an arm by using it too much or by injuring it. Biking and wrestling are examples of activities that can lead to arm pain. Everyday wear and tear, especially as your child gets older, can cause arm pain. Your child's forearms, wrists, hands, and fingers are the parts of the arm that are most likely to become painful.

A minor arm injury usually will heal on its own with home treatment to relieve swelling and pain. If your child has a more serious injury, your child may need tests and treatment.

How can you care for your arm pain?

  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Rest and protect your arm. Take a break from any activity that may cause pain.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on your arm for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
  • Prop up the sore arm on a pillow when you ice it or anytime you sit or lie down during the next 3 days. Try to keep it above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling.
  • If your doctor recommends a sling to support your arm, wear it as directed.

Arm pain in children: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child's arm or hand is cool or pale or changes color.
  • Your child has new or worse pain.
  • Your child cannot use the arm.
  • Your child has signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks running up or down the arm.
    • Pus draining from an area of the arm.
    • A fever.
  • Your child has tingling, weakness, or numbness in the arm.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.