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Injured Limb Episode

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"Yep, that leg is definitely broken."
The Vet, Postman Pat

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.

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 in any case, when Played for Drama, it 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.

Might involve Plaster Cast Doodling shenanigans with the visitors of the injured person writing "get well soon" messages or drawing encouraging hearts.


Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 

    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: 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 gets 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.
  • In A Load of Bulk, a fanfiction of The Loud House, Lana, who's been given Super-Strength via a potion, dislocates Lincoln's shoulder arm wrestling.

    Films — Animation 
  • Coraline: Coraline's mother spends a good part of the movie in a neck brace.
  • 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.
  • Fighting Fantasy:
    • In this series of gamebooks, you will frequently end up hurting your arm from either booby traps or picking up cursed artifacts, at which point you'll need to "Test Your Luck" to determine which arm of yours suffers an injury — you'll lose more SKILL points if you're Unlucky and have injured your sword arm.
    • In The Port of Peril, this happens to Hakasan Za, your partner, who twists her ankle part way through the adventure and have to leave you on your own. She returns afterwards in the final battle to help you.

    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.
  • Claudia breaks her leg in a The Baby-Sitters Club book thanks to a charge's practical joke. She's actually pretty traumatized and afraid afterwards and can't stop thinking about how easily it could have been her hand or arm, which would have ruined her ability to paint or sculpt.
    • In the Spin-Off series Baby-Sitters Little Sister: Karen breaks her wrist after failing to do a daredevil jump on her roller skates, which takes a couple of books to heal.
  • Bedknob and Broomstick: Miss Price hurts her ankle at the beginning.
  • The 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.
  • Two examples from Fern Hollow:
    • In "Muddles at the Manor", the titular muddles start when Lord Trundle's gardener Blodger breaks his leg. Lord Trundle hires a couple kids to fill in while Blodger recovers and... well, that's why the story is called "Muddles at the Manor."
    • In "Spike and the Cowboy Band", Spike Willowbank ends up having to fill in for Rip, the fiddle-playing leader of said Cowboy Band when Rip injures his arm.
  • 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.
  • Meg Langslow Mysteries:
    • In Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon Meg, a blacksmith, has suffered a serious injury to her hand, leading to her taking a temporary desk job in her brother Rob's computer game company (where someone is promptly murdered).
    • In We'll Always Have Parrots Michael is playing a role in a cheesy fantasy series where the actress who plays the title character has just been murdered. Meg asks the head writer how they handled it when Michael's friend Walker broke his leg. They had him be captured and held in a dungeon for a few episodes, "lolling around in a loincloth" with the leg injury part of the plot but with his anachronistic cast either out of the shot or hidden by straw.
    • In Duck the Halls Meg's shoulder is injured early on by a violent collision with a very unlikable character. She has to do a lot of things one-handed during the ensuing mystery.
  • 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".
  • Roys Bedoys: In “Roys Bedoys Goes to the Hospital”, Roys falls downstairs and breaks his arm.
  • 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 
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun had two such episodes. In one, Mary broke Dick's foot and he began using it as emotional leverage. Then, later, John Lithgow broke his leg for real. Regretting already using this plot, the writers instead wrote a different episode where Dick, temporarily bound to a wheelchair, uses the cause of disability rights to his own selfish ends.
  • Adam-12 had an episode where Reed had desk duty because he had an injured arm in a cast. While he works in the public information area, Malloy goes on patrol with a temporary partner.
  • 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.
  • The Brokenwood Mysteries: Mike breaks his leg in one episode, sidelining him for the investigation. He still tries to puzzle things out while stuck at home.
  • CSI: NY: Mac is thrown over a three-story balcony in the opening of "Point of View". The episode picks up a month later, and he's still at home with a sprained right ankle, his right wrist in a brace, and a few broken ribs. He manages to get out of his apartment and help with the Case of the Week before it's over, tho.
  • Forever: Hanson gets this in "Diamonds Are Forever" when he gets shot early in the episode. He needs help doing such simple tasks as putting on his coat after, looks pale and in pain, and has to sit out more athletic events.
  • In an episode of Friends, Joey breaks his arm jumping off a bed (off-screen). Enforced by the fact that the actor dislocated his shoulder while shooting the previous episode.
  • FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman episode "Ruff's Big Break" has Ruff breaking his leg off-screen and is forced to wear a Cone and a cast for the show.
  • 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.
  • Henry Danger:
    • In "Broken Armed and Dangerous", Henry fractures his arm during a mission which nearly exposes his identity as Kid Danger.
    • In "Danger and Thunder", Piper comes down with a case of text neck syndrome from looking down at her devices for too long, and has to wear a neck cone for the rest of the episode.
  • iCarly: Spencer spends the entirety of "iGet Banned" in a leg cast and crutches due to injuring his leg from wearing his roller skates in the shower some time prior.
  • In one episode of Leverage, Parker tears her leg and gets stuck at Leverage HQ.
  • In the Season 1 finale of Liv and Maddie, Maddie buckles her knee during a basketball game and undergoes knee surgery, which continues into the first half of the next season.
  • In the M*A*S*H episode "Operation Friendship", BJ's forearm is injured by an exploding autoclave (instrument sterilizer). He can't operate, but otherwise insists it's not that serious, despite Hawkeye's worries, until it becomes extraordinarily painful and his hand starts losing color. Turns out, he has compartment syndrome, and he needs an operation immediately to relieve the building pressure in his arm, or he risks losing the use of his hand.
  • Raven's Home: In the last three produced episodes of Season 3, Raven breaks her wrist from a slip-up, resulting in her wearing a sequined arm sling for the rest of the season. Note this is a result of Real Life Writes the Plot when Raven-Symoné broke her wrist from a skateboard accident on set.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Chief O'Brien dislocates his shoulder twice (and has mentioned having 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 in 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.
  • The Thundermans: In "May Z-Force Be With You", Phoebe gets severely injured in the neck and leg after falling off the stairs while cheering on Cherry's ping pong match, right when she and Max are to be interviewed for a position in the Z-Force. Since the interviewer does not want to see her injured, she has Cherry take her place.
  • 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.
  • Ultra Series examples:
    • In the start of an episode of Return of Ultraman, Ultraman Jack defeats the rodent-like monster Robonez, but not before the monster lands a massive chomp on Jack's arm, which transfers itself to Go Hideki (Jack's human host) resulting in an arm injury that persists the entire episode.
    • An episode of Ultraman Tiga has Daigo with a broken arm and Shinjoh a broken leg after a Gutswing crash. Though they're both in casts, it doesn't have much imapct on Tiga's fighting ability. Daigo's arm is mostly healed by the next episode, though Shinjoh isn't as lucky, and he's confined to office work.
    • A similar thing happened in an episode of Ultraman Taro, where Taro defeats Gorgosaurus at the start of said episode but gets his arm trampled upon in the process. The resulting injury lingers throughout the episode and interferes with another battle at the end.
    • The very first episode of Ultraman Leo have Ultraseven having his leg broken after losing in a Curb-Stomp Battle from the Gillas Monsters. He spends pretty much the entire series holding onto a walking stick.
  • Y: The Last Man (2021): In episode 3, Mackenzie falls and impales her leg on a spade while trying to chase some crows off her father and brother's bodies. Most of the B-plot in episode 4 revolves around trying to help her. Nora says they judged the wait for at the refugee camps too long so she decided to leave to take her to a cousin who's a doctor, only to not be able to find her. Hero and Sam run into them hiding in a pharmacy and Hero's able to get the wound cleaned up and find her some antibiotics for the infection.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Bear in the Big Blue House: In "That Healing Feeling", Tutter injures his tail when a book falls on it during a game of hide and seek he plays with Treelo and Ojo. Bear calls Doc Hogg, who recommends the mouse come into his office so he can examine the injury. Tutter is nervous about his visit, but Ojo comes along for support. Together, they enjoy the waiting room and find out what a fracture is.
  • 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.
  • Donkey Hodie: The episode "Cheesy Con" has Donkey Hodie sprain her leg after tripping on a toy truck and having to miss the titular convention.
  • 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.
    • In Episode 5023, Zoe breaks her arm when she slips on some banana peels (courtesy of Joey and Davey) while attempting her ballet jump. Charlie, Rosita, and Elmo try to find a game that Zoe can play with just one arm.
  • In the Wimzie's House episode, "The Accident", Lulu trips on Jonas' roller skate, falls, and breaks her leg. As it was his roller skate Lulu tripped on, Jonas feels that the accident was his fault, but he doesn't want to admit that he didn't put the roller skate away as his mom asked him to to his friends.
  • In the The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss episode, "A Bird's Guide to Health", Sid the Spider's legs get crushed by a fallen tree. Horton, who is afraid of spiders, befriends Sid and helps take care of him until his legs heal.

    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.

    Visual Novels 
  • Averted in Double Homework. Morgan hurts her leg while escaping from the avalanche on Barbarossa, but her hurt leg isn’t mentioned again.

    Web Animation 
  • 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.

    Web Comics 
  • In series of Boy and Dog strips, Murphy "stresses his leg" and is put on tranquilizers to prevent him from putting pressure on it.

    Web Videos 
  • 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.

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The Princess can't go to the fair because her foot is injured.

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