Arm Wrestling Can Lead to Humerus Fracture

A clip posted recently on Google Video shows a serious injury associated with arm wrestling: spiral fracture of the humerus. These fractures often require open reduction and internal fixation with a metal plate and screws, and recovery can take months.

British Journal of Sports Medicine has an excellent case report which describes a Broken arm wrestler:

"Usually the musculotendinous structures are the limiting factor in arm wrestling, but in this particular case they were not, either because the proprioceptive awareness of the patient was reduced because of the alcohol and late night and/or he wasovermuscular for his bony size, in the sense that, although he was generally muscular, he did not have the humeral cortical bone hypertrophy to match his muscularity because he was not a regular arm wrestler.

This type of arm wrestling injury tends to occur when one arm wrestler tries to force the match in an effort to win or to change the tide of the contest. As the offensive wrestler continues with the attack, the defender's internalrotator shoulder muscles suddenly and passively stretch and change from their maximally concentric contraction to an eccentric compensatory contraction, resulting in an intense rotational force with subsequent humeral fracture."


Video: An arm wrestler breaks his arm during a match at the Empire State Golden Arm Tournament of Champions in New York City. There is a clearly audible snap in the video when the humerus breaks.

John Brzenk, who is considered the best arm wrestler in the world, responds to a fan question regarding how often (professional) arm wrestling leads to fractures:

"To be honest over the last 15 years of arm wrestling I’ve seen maybe a handful of broken arms and all of them in the upper arm."

Any fracture is serious. If you engage in arm wrestling, please have the cases above in mind, exercise properly and take every precaution to prevent similar injury from happening to you.

References:
Broken arm wrestler. Br J Sports Med 2000; 34:461-462.
Interview with John Brzenk. ArmWrestling.com.
Image source: Arm wrestling from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Related:

25 comments:

  1. I heard that arm wrestling is especially dangerous when your opponent has somehow fused his DNA with that of a fly, giving himself superhuman strength and endurance.

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  2. How does our lower arm break when arm wrestling?

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  3. I have a such fracture 15 days ago. This is really scarry and pianfool.

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  4. just broke my arm this way, not worth IT AT ALL.

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  5. i just broke my arm this way, alcohol diminished my proprioceptive sensitivity...dont drink and arm wrestle...

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  6. I did a lot of arm wrestling during my teenage days. No arm broken so far!

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  7. i have also just broken my arm doing this exact thing.
    as said before, dont drink and arm wrestle..

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  8. I broke my arm arm-wrestling 3 years ago. Didn't hurt until I got to the hospital but definitely very painful after that. 4 screws and a plate in that badboy

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    Replies
    1. Did you have nerve injury?

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  9. Broke it same way... one metal plate and 10 screws... never again... never again...

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  10. i broke my arm in a competition on the third day. i was feeling a strain on my humeros on the 2nd day but ignored it. I felt a enormous strain on my arm on the third day. Like someone was hitting my funny bone. It snapped and made a loud sound. Apparently my bicep applied too much pressure and the humeros couldn't handel it. i dont drink, so could that be the reason?

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  11. I broke my arm the same way three years ago. Fortunately I didn't need surgery and it all healed up nicely... But still, that whole experience really sucked.

    Don't take a chance, don't arm wrestle!

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  12. Broke my Humerous Arm Wrestling! not very funny now!

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  13. don't know what i broke yet, I'm thinking I snapped something alike a tendon or ligament. we'll see what the doc tells me tomorrow. ouch is all i can say.

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  14. don't know what i broke yet, I'm thinking I snapped something alike a tendon or ligament.

    What did the doctor say?
    This happened to me a couple of weeks ago, I can't lift weight as heavy as I use to with that arm. But its taking a long time to heal, not sure if this injury is more serious then I expected.

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  15. You need to see a doctor right now - don't postpone it.

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  16. just did that 2 weeks ago. metal plate+ 2 screws. such a stupid mistake to make, and lose months out on it, and so much pain for nothing:(

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  17. Same me week ago. I was drunk. http://www.fotosik.pl/pokaz_obrazek/2e0d9a1b8112b2b2.html (spiral humeral shaft fracture)

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  18. I broke my arm, arm wrestleing at a motorcyle show,I will regret it for the rest of my life.My arm will never be the same,with radial nerve damage included.Arm wrestleing should be outlawed and banned.You live and learn in this life.

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  19. to all that have broken their arm pulling, you have to know how to do it right. you have to learn and be taught and not just do it in a bar every now ang then while your drinking. i have been pulling for well over 20 years and was in the Over the Top tournement in las vegas in the 80's that they made the movie about. i have pulled people such as john brzenk allen fisher and travis badgent among others and help train young starters as well as older ones. i myself along with john brzenk have broken our arms when we were in our teens and westill compete to be the world champions to this day.

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  20. how can I avoid this?

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  21. i just broke my arm like 4 week ago. i was pretty good at arm wrestling, rarely lost a match, even the time i broke it, he was no match for me....but i hav a bad habit holding it to see how strong the opponent was, i could just beat him in a second after started but i didnt i was holding for a little when i was trying to push him down i feel like he was tougher than i thought. and the last thing before it happend was i tried to put more power in to it....
    i was drinking to... not sure if that was the cause... i also had some intense match 2 month earlier i won but hurt my arm for like a month

    anyway my point is i think anyone could break the arm, so be careful and if you need the arm to make money like me, too much intense hobby might be too much

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  22. I broke my arm this way two weeks ago - fractured humerus (upper arm) about 10cm above my elbow. Had an operation and 2 titanium plates with 16 screws were put in my arm. The places' cost was over $ 1500. I will be recovering for months. I thought that I was strong but it turned out that my bones weren't as strong as my muscles. Alcohol also helped to bring it about. Please don't do that to yourself - avoid arm wrestling at all costs, it's not worth it.

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  23. I got a severe distal humerus fracture from arm wrestling about a week ago. Had to go to surgery and I now have titanium plates and screws, I can't feel my brachialis and there is damage to the radial nerve. Heed my call, people, avoid arm wrestling. You don't have to do something really stupid to realize exactly how stupid and pointless it actually is, but it will be too late. Please don't do anything stupid.

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  24. I broke my arm this way during my holiday in turkey this summer. It was in a bar late at night at closing time when it happend. My opponent wasnt even big. He did it all day to earn money, i never arm wreastle. He gave me the idea we where equal, so i put in more of my bodyweight and start rotating. (You see this mistake in a lot of youtube videos, always watch you own hand). I slipped my elbow and heard an enormous snap. I didnt know what happend and thought that somebody had hit me. I looked at my arm and it was fully exorotated, i twisted it back myself. Didnt feel much pain, but other people fainted. Took me four days of hospital, two plates and 13 screws. And believe me turkisch hospital is no joke, i thought i was back in ww2 or something like that.
    I am still recovering from this, and as it turnedout the doctors did a bad job, plate is loose and all screws are to short. Got a 14 cm scare.
    Dont ever do armwreastle! It measures in now way how strong you are.

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