Celebrity health: Morgan Freeman
A broken bone can be extremely painful, as Morgan Freeman can testify after his car crash. It also needs quick treatment if the risk of deformity is to be avoided
Rescue services feared the worst last week when they pulled film star Morgan Freeman out of the wreckage of the car he had been driving, after it left the road and flipped over several times.
The Batman actor had been travelling through rural Mississippi when he lost control of the vehicle and plunged into the scrub. He was found unconscious by a passerby who reported the car was "torn up so bad I couldn't tell what it was".
Authorities have not ruled out the possibility that Freeman fell asleep at the wheel, though they say alcohol or drugs were definitely not factors.
Miraculously, however, neither Freeman nor female passenger Demaris Meyer received life-threatening injuries.
That's not to say the actor was exactly unharmed, however. He suffered a broken arm and elbow and extensive shoulder damage and though in good spirits was, according to a friend, in "a lot of pain".
That is hardly surprising. A fracture or break to the arm is an agonising experience and, unless treated quickly, can result in long-term deformity. It is also a surprisingly common injury, most frequently occurring as the result of a car crash or a sports mishap (children often suffer broken arms too, very often as a consequence of a playground game gone wrong).
Seeking prompt medical help is important because the bones in the arm need to be set without delay, so that they heal properly. If this is not done, or if the fracture is especially complicated, surgery may be required to align the arm.
In severe cases, doctors may even have to use wires or metal plates to ensure the arm is in the proper position during the healing process.
You might think a broken or fractured arm would be easy to identify. Yet this isn't always the case.
Sometimes there will be no external evidence of breakage and the only indication that something is amiss will be the incredible pain you are experiencing.
If this pain is so severe that you can't use your arm, there may be a risk of a fracture and you should consult a doctor.
Children, in particular, may not realise they've fractured an arm. Regardless of the precise circumstances, ensure they do not move their arm until they have received medical attention -- this will make the injury easier to treat in the long term.