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Injured Limb Episode

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"Yep, that leg is definitely broken."
The Vet, Postman Pat
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This is a plot that focuses on a limb (that is, an arm or a leg, or in the case of some creatures, a wing or flipper), being injured. This can involve it being broken, sprained (ankles are a popular area for spraining for some reason) or dislocated, but minor injuries (such as grazing one's knee) don't count.

Usually, if it's an arm it means the person can't move that arm or has great difficulty doing so, and if it's a leg that means the person can't walk or has limited mobility. This makes it a popular plot device for rendering someone unable to dance or do sports, meaning someone has to sub for them. And it also makes it a popular injury to fake for the sake of Prank Injuries if they want to get attention or be lazy. In the case of legs it can also lead to someone having to stay in one place, which can lead to situations such as a "Rear Window" Homage.

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Oftentimes, the injury happens with the character falling and then shouting "Ow, My Body Part!". Then, they think they're OK, but cry out in pain when they try to use the limb, then they go to the doctor and say that the limb is broken/sprained/etc and not to use it for X amount of time. If it is broken, there might be a Sickening "Crunch!", and it in any case, when Played for Drama, might lead to I Will Only Slow You Down.

If it's an animal with the injury, there will usually be one or more worried humans nursing the animal back to health and, in the case of wild animals, keeping the animal until it can walk or fly again.

Can be enforced on TV shows as a result of a Written-In Infirmity when the actor/actress has a limb injury and they write it into the plot.

Compare An Arm and a Leg and its subtrope Literal Disarming for when the limbs get outright cut off. It might lead to an Injured Player Character Stage if it's in a video game. If it's a foot or a digit that's injured, then it's Agony of the Feet or Fingore.

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Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Ishigami accidentally breaks Miko's arm over winter break when she saved him from falling down the stairs in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War and she guilts him into taking care of her afterwards at Onodera's suggestion (she says it's so Ishigami will have an outlet for his guilt, but it's implied that she had other reasons for bringing up the idea).

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In Dungeon Keeper Ami, Ami breaks her arm punching out the Horned Reaper in a duel and must spend part of an episode getting it fixed.
  • In Prerugrats, Spike the dog from Rugrats was described as having broken his leg as a puppy.
  • In The X-Files fanfic Serious Need of Medical Attention, Scully sprains her ankle.
  • Tommy Pickles Vs The Terrible Twos: In "Tommy's First Splinter", Belinda breaks her arm after getting into a fight with Gloria, and then Gloria breaks her own arm. Then, in "Tommy Breaks a Leg", Tommy breaks his leg due to getting hit by a car. He recovers in "Tommy's Purple Hair".
  • Exaggerated in these three unnamed fan videos for The Incredibles: First Mr Incredible, then Elastigirl get severely beaten up (Mr Incredible gets literally beaten up by a woman and Elastigirl gets crushed by a drink stand that baby Jack-Jack knocked over. They're said to have broken all their bones, however, they can still speak and chew their own food, Elastigirl's right arm and left leg aren't bandaged, Mr Incredible's right arm and neither of his legs are bandaged, and it's pretty contrived because Mr Incredible has super-strength and Elastigirl lives up to her name. Played straight in this video where Jack-Jack breaks his leg.
  • The Real-Person Fic Astral Journey: It's Complicated has this as a sub-plot as Emma, Geri, Victoria, and Melanie were all admitted for their injuries. Geri was allowed to leave for out-patient treatment for her injured leg. Brandy also suffered a broken arm, which didn't stop her from helping Emma.

    Films — Animation 
  • Flushed Away: Rita's dad is seen with both arms and both legs in casts.
  • Frankenweenie, Bob the chubby boy who's friends with the bully breaks his arm falling off the roof.
  • In Moshi Monsters: the Movie, Buster Bumblechops injures his leg and is in a wheelchair but is better at the end.
  • Up: One of the failed trips to South America was due to Mr. Fredrickson ending up wearing a cast.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Gamebooks 
  • Lone Wolf: In the first half of Shadow on the Sand, Lone Wolf can spend a good deal of the action while having contracted a disease called limbdeath, resulting from sewer germs getting into a shoulder wound (although it's possible to avoid it if lucky). This means Lone Wolf is unable to use his left arm until he can find the Magic Antidote, which results in a serious reduction in fighting skills.

     Jokes 
  • There's one joke involving a boy named Jack claiming he couldn't mow the lawn because he sprained his ankle, but Jack's father said that it was a lame excuse.
  • One joke involves a boy named Jordan and his friend Aaliyah, both of whom apparently really hate school. Jordan breaks his right arm playing in the schoolyard and Aaliyah claims that he's lucky because he doesn't have to take exams. Jordan replies that he's actually unlucky because he's left-handed and meant to fall on his left arm.
  • There's one joke about two men named Mike and Paul, and Mike's brother has broken his leg.
    Mike: "My brother was sick and went to the doctor."
    Paul: "Is he feeling better now?"
    Mike: "No, he has a broken leg."
    Paul: "How did he break it?"
    Mike: "Well, the doctor gave him a prescription and told him no matter what happened, to follow that prescription. When he got home, the prescription blew out of the window."
    Paul: "So how did he break his leg?"
    Mike: "He jumped out the window trying to follow the prescription."
  • One joke involves a woman needing surgery on her knee.
    Patient: "Will I be able to sing?"
    Doctor: "The surgery will not affect your vocal cords whatsoever. So you will be able to sing perfectly."
    Patient: "That's great! I've always wanted to be able to sing."

    Literature 
  • In the kids' book The Accident, a girl breaks her arm and is unable to go to the zoo, but dreams that she goes to the zoo.
  • Amelia Bedelia: In one of the books focusing on Amelia as a kid, "Amelia Bedelia Dances Off", Amelia's dance instructor Dana breaks her leg in two places.
  • Angelina Ballerina: In one book, Flora sprains her ankle, so somebody else fills in for her.
  • Animorphs: In "Metamorphs 2", Tobias spends a lot of time with a broken arm. Oddly, when in hawk form, his wing is broken and morphing usually heals injuries.
  • Bedknob and Broomstick: Miss Price hurts her ankle at the beginning.
  • Berenstain Bears: "The Excuse Note" involves Sister Bear spraining her ankle and liking how she gets to skip gym class.
  • Charlie and Lola: "Charlie is Broken", which is both a book and an episode of the TV series, involves Charlie breaking his arm.
  • In the Clarice Bean book "Don't Look Now", Karl Wrenbury breaks his arm.
  • Danny, the Champion of the World has Danny's father injure his leg falling into a hole.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: In the first book, Rowley breaks his left hand.
  • In the children's book Kiss Kiss, Yuck Yuck!, the main boy Andy wonders why his auntie Elsie is delayed in her visit. It turns out she broke her leg falling off a camel.
  • Little Bear: A variation. In one story, Lucy the doll's arm breaks in two and Little Bear tapes it up.
  • Mr. Men: Little Miss Princess' story involves her going to take care of Mr. Bump after he breaks his leg.
  • The Midnight Gang: One of the characters, Amber, is in hospital because all of her limbs are broken and she needs a wheelchair.
  • Milly, Molly: In "Milly, Molly, and Aunt Maude", Aunt Maude breaks her leg. This is adapted into the TV series too, but the TV episode is simply called "Aunt Maude".
  • In one Mrs Pepperpot story, Mrs Pepperpot adopts a pig who she names Squiggly because he's got a wonky leg when they first met.
  • The plot of Not Without Randolph gets started when the girl Jenny's great-grandmother needs to go to the old-folks' home because "her other leg has gone wonky".
  • In one of the Swallows and Amazons books, Roger injures his leg. He ends up needing a crutch, but only for a day.
  • In Switch, Samson accidentally dislocates his shoulder while Playing with Fire, so Nola has to fix it.
  • In the children's book Uncle Allan's Stinky Leg, Allan goes to his nephew's farm while his leg is broken and accidentally gets a cowpat on his cast (which is why his leg was stinky).
  • The Wonky Donkey is about a donkey with a wonky leg.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Zigzagged in an episode of Bewitched: Clara magically gets a newspaper dated for the next day which involves Darrin's boss Larry breaking his leg. Samantha, Clara, and Darrin try to go forward in time to prevent Larry from breaking his leg but it turns out that it happened on the same date ten years ago.
  • In an episode of Black Books, Bernard gets his left arm in a cast after getting very drunk one night.
  • In an episode of Friends, Joey breaks his arm jumping off a bed. Enforced by the fact that the actor really did break his arm.
  • Happy Days: In "Fearless Fonzarelli", Fonzie does a motorcycle jump and ends up injuring his leg. He recovers, but becomes lazy, and the Cunninghams try to get him back to normal.
  • In one episode of Leverage, Parker tears her leg and gets stuck at Leverage HQ.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Chief O'Brien dislocates his shoulder twice (and has mentioned to have done it before). Fortunately, Dr Bashir can cure him easily.
    • In "Move Along Home", Dax sprains her leg, making her unable to jump, but it turns out to just be an illusion.
    • In "The Quickening", a boy is seen with a fractured arm which Dr Bashir cures.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise:
    • In "Minefield", a land mine spikes through Malcolm Reed's leg, which is still needing treatment the next episode.
    • In "The Breach", Travis Mayweather breaks his leg and tears a ligament falling down in a cave.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In one episode, Chakotay and Seven of Nine are trapped on a planet with an alien species who are primitive and communicate only through sign language. The former has an infection in his leg which hinders his mobility.
  • Worzel Gummidge: The episode "Worzel's Nephew" has Harry the farm servant sprain his ankle falling off the roof so Worzel's naughty nephew Pickles Bramble fills in for him.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the Dinosaurs episode, "Earl's Big Jackpot", Earl Sinclair injures his leg being hit by a falling tree after being forced by Mr. Richfield to work after hours without any pay. Fran and Robbie trick him into suing the WeSaySo corporation after Mr. Richfield fires him. When Earl wins the lawsuit, the jury forces WeSaySo to pay Earl $800,000,000.00 rather than just the $800.00 Fran and Robbie need for the medical bills. Mr. Richfield blames Earl and raises consumer prices while Earl spends the money lavishly.
  • Sesame Street:
    • The live-action segments from a series of episodes in the mid-1980s dealt with Luis breaking his arm and having to wear a cast for six weeks, allowing for a chance to show young audiences what to expect if they ever have a limb temporarily out of commission.
    • In one episode, Big Bird sprains his wing and has to have it in a sling for a while.

    Video Games 
  • The online game Cute Pet Hospital has three things that can go wrong with the pets: broken bones, the flu, and ingesting foreign objects. With the broken bones, no matter where the bone reads on the X-ray, it's always the leg that gets casted, and it heals seconds after being casted.

    Web Original 
  • In series of Boy and Dog strips, Murphy "stresses his leg" and is put on tranquilizers to prevent him putting pressure on it.
  • In the Camp Camp episode "Ered Gets Her Cool Back", Ered sprains her ankle in embarrassing fashion and spends the episode with a cast and crutches. This leads to more Amusing Injuries as she attempts to prove she's still cool.
  • SuperMarioLogan:
    • In "Bowser Junior Breaks His Leg!", Junior breaks his leg after jumping off a jungle gym while racing against Joseph. Bowser has Chef Pee Pee give Junior whatever he wants, so three weeks after the leg is healed, he pretends it is still broken to get free stuff from Chef Pee Pee. However, when he confesses, Chef Pee Pee beats him up, breaking his other leg.
    • In "Jeffy Breaks His Leg!", Jeffy gets his leg run over by Mario's car to get out of going to school. Mario has to take care of Jeffy for six to eight weeks while his leg heals. Jeffy torments Mario with ridiculous demands and continues to guilt-trip him by constantly blaming him for his broken leg. At the end of the episode, after Jeffy's leg heals, Jeffy stands under Mario's car to get his leg broken again.

    Western Animation 
  • Angelina Ballerina:
    • In one episode, Mrs Hodgepodge breaks her leg, which inspires Angelina to fake breaking hers. It doesn't work.
    • In an episode called "Angelina's Hip-Hop Boys Show", one of the boys (A.J.) injures his leg falling off a trash can.
  • Arthur:
    • In the episode "The Wheel Deal", Alan "The Brain" Powers sprains his ankle and has to be in a wheelchair for a few weeks. In that time he makes friends with a girl in a wheelchair who teaches him how to cope with the challenges.
    • In "Do You Speak George?", Jenna is briefly seen with her arm in a sling.
  • Berenstain Bears: In "The Excuse Note", Sister Bear sprains her ankle and exploits sitting out gym class, which she dislikes despite being generally active.
  • In one episode of Bob the Builder, a woman named Mavis hurts her ankle on the jogging machine.
  • In "Going Overboard", the first episode of The Casagrandes, Carlos injures his leg when he tries to teach Ronnie Anne some of his skateboard tricks.
  • In Charlie and Lola, the episode "Charlie is Broken" focuses on Charlie breaking his arm.
  • In the Doc McStuffins episode "Run, Doc, Run", Doc sprains her ankle and Dart the toy unicorn fractures her leg. Hallie thinks both need to rest. note 
  • Gargoyles: A more dramatic version of this trope happens when Elisa Maza is shot in the leg by a Gargoyle carelessly playing with a gun. Her fate is unknown for most of the episode, and the next episode she's on crutches while recovering, although already back on the job.
  • Handy Manny: In one episode, a man breaks his leg, so Manny has to dance with his dance partner.
  • Il était une fois... la vie: More than one episode involves at least one character injuring their leg. One of these episodes is about the skeleton and shows how a broken bone can heal itself.
  • Little Princess: In "I Want to Go to the Fair", the princess hurts her foot and can't go to the fair, so the queen makes her a makeshift fair.
  • The Loud House: In "Toads and Tiaras", Lola trips over a can of hairspray and breaks an arm and a leg. This happens before a beauty pageant, so Lincoln trains her twin sister Lana to take her place.
  • Martha Speaks: In "Dog Daze", Helen has sprained her ankle, however, it's better at the end of the episode.
  • Meg And Mog: In "Meg's Leg", Meg injures her leg in a broomstick accident and then injures her other one showing off. A background witch is also seen with her arm in a sling.
  • Milly, Molly:
    • In "Aunt Maude", Maude breaks her leg and the girls look after her garden while she recovers.
    • In. "Sooty", the girls find a cat with an injured leg.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Read it and Weep", it is a variation: Rainbow Dash injures, not a leg, but a wing. This leads to her being hospitalised for a few days and taking up reading out of boredom. The character in the book she was reading also had an injured wing.
  • In a Peppa Pig episode, Miss Rabbit injures her leg before she can go to work, so the other adults have to do her jobs.
  • The Phineas and Ferb episode "Mommy Can You Hear Me?" sees Candace being bedridden due to having her leg in a cast from an injury. Even that doesn't stop her from trying to bust her brothers, though.
  • Postman Pat: In one episode, Jess breaks his leg.
  • Recess: In "Lord of the Nerds", TJ breaks his collarbone and has to stay inside with a nerdy group of kids called the "Pale Kids" until it heals.
  • Rocket Power has the episode "Big Air Dare" in which Otto and Reggie contemptuously race down the big slope via snowboarding. While Reggie stops herself from taking the jump, Otto flies off and breaks his leg. Its sister episode "Otto's Big Break" is a continuation of the former episode and shows the other three members of the group trying to search for someone to fill in for Otto for the imminent hockey match.
  • Rugrats:
    • Zigzagged. One episode is called "Angelica Breaks a Leg", but she doesn't really, she's just faking. However, a background character and eventually Charlotte do break their legs.
    • In "Fall Stinks", the second part of the "Acorn Nuts and Diapey Butts" saga, Grandpa Lou falls trying to get away from the elderly ladies who want to dance with him at the new retirement home he moved into, breaking his leg and spending the third part, "Don't Poop On My Parade" with his leg in a cast. He meets Lulu, who works as a nurse, and falls in love with her, deciding he wants to stay in the retirement center after all.
  • In the Scooby-Doo episode "There's No Creature Like Snow Creature", Fred breaks his leg.
  • The Simpsons: In the episode "Bart of Darkness", Nelson teases Bart who's about to jump into the pool, resulting in him falling and breaking his leg. Lisa gives him a telescope and he spies on Ned, leading him to believe Ned killed Maude.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series: In "The Terratin Incident", a shrunken Sulu breaks his leg falling off a console and has to be fixed with some of McCoy and Nurse Chapel's technology.
  • Tangled: The Series: In the "Big Brothers of Corona" episode, Cassandra breaks her leg in a fall and Rapunzel has her hands full making sure she rests. Cassandra is absent from the following episode, making it likely she's recovering off-screen.
  • Teen Titans has the episode "Fractured" where Robin breaks his arm and a reality-warping, inter-dimensional fanboy tries to heal it.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • In the episode "Psychic Fun-Omenon Day", the short "Rear Window Pain" has Plucky injure his leg and Babs give him some binoculars as a present. When Plucky sees Elmer Fudd growing eggplants and talking to them as if they were his children, he thinks that Elmer is making clones of himself.
    • In "It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special", Montana Max injures his leg skiing in Aspen with Morgan Fairchild and spends the entirety of the episode in a wheelchair, parodying the character of Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life, who was in a wheelchair due to his actor, Lionel Barrymore's real-life health conditions. As a result of his injury, Monty was late to attend rehearsals for the Tiny Toons prime-time holiday spectacular, and Buster had to cut him from the special. Monty vowed revenge by sabotaging the sketches, resulting in everyone blaming Buster and Monty being hired as the new director of the special (which, thankfully didn't last too long when the network executives saw just how awful Monty's ideas were).
  • The Wombles: In "Alderney's Big Break", Alderney injures her back paw on the Wombles' annual Spring-Cleaning Day. Because Wombles are a Neat Freak species, she feels disappointed,

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