ryan-jimmo-broken-armIt is safe to say that most people have at least some vague understanding of what constitutes a broken arm, but just case you don’t, mixed martial arts (MMA) and ultimate fighting championship (UFC) light heavyweight Ryan Jimmo has vowed to enlighten us on the matter. Midway through the second round of his most recent MMA bout, Jimmo began crying out to officials that his arm had been broken.  He later told officials that he could literally feel his bone moving in his arm.  As it turns out, Jimmo was right, his ulna (inner forearm bone) had a fairly clean break in it.

This is pre-surgery X-ray was posted on Ryan Jimmo’s twitterryan-jimmo-broken-arm-xray

The arm consists of three main bones, the upper arm bone (humerus), outer forearm bone (radius), and inner forearm bone (ulna). A fracture to any of these bones would be considered a broken arm. There are many different types of fractures such as compound and simple fractures. A compound fracture is one in which the bone can actually shatters and results in multiple fragments. A simple fracture is one in which the bone is broken into two parts. Other classifications of fractures include greenstick, transverse, oblique, and spiral. Greenstick fractures are incomplete fractures in which the bone is not completely separated. Transverse fractures are fractures in which the break forms a straight line across the bone. Oblique fractures are fractures in which the break forms a diagonal break across the bone. Spiral fractures look similar to oblique fractures but are caused by a rotational force. In Jimmo’s case it appears that he is dealing with a transverse fracture. An arm fracture can be associated with symptoms such as pain, swelling, bruising. In addition there may be deformity and inability to rotate forearm.  Its interesting because Jimmo’s fracture type is referred to as a ‘night stick’ injury.  This is the fracture pattern seen when someone uses their forearm to defend against a police baton or nightstick!  It is important for a trauma doctor to pay attention and not get lulled into complacency, because there are variation that look similar but can be disastrous if missed.  A Monteggia fracture looks like a night stick type fracture but the elbow joint comes out of place.

Treatment for a broken forearm typically involves a sequence of realigning the bones followed by immobilization and therapy. When surgically realigning bones fixtures such as plates, wires, and screws are used to hold bones in proper position.This is the post-surgery X-ray posted on Ryan Jimmo’s twitter


As you can see, Jimmo opted for surgery and was suited with a fixture consisting of a plate and a set of screws.   One of the screws is outside the plate…its okay- this is intentional.  It is called a lag screw.  After realignment, comes the immobilization stage’ this is minimal since the fracture is stabilized with the plate and screws. During the immobilization stage it is recommended that light, elbow, forearm and wrist range of motion exercises be completed in order to prevent stiffness. Once the splint  is removed, physical therapy can be utilized to regain strength in the arm. All in all the entire healing and recovery process takes around three to six months.   I level athlete will push to return closer to three months.

As for Ryan Jimmo, his successful surgery took place in the middle of June so it would be surprising if he weren’t back in the cage and ready to rumble before the end of the year.

© 2023 Dr. Robert Afra – San Diego Orthopedic Surgery Shoulder – Knee – Elbow