Broken bones (or fractures) are a common injury after a traumatic event. No matter how big or small it may seem, all broken bones need urgent medical care.
What is a Broken Bone
A broken bone or fracture occurs when a force hit a bone stronger than it can bear. The forceful hit can disturb the structure and strength of the bone. Although bones are rigid, they can bend when a minimal outside force is applied. However, if the pressure is extreme, it can result in broken bones.
The severity of the fracture will depend on the cause. The most common causes of a broken bone are sports injury, accidents such as an automobile crash, gunshot, or violent trauma. All these can lead to a crack or shattered bones.
Bone fractures are not usually life-threatening, but these types of injuries require prompt medical care. Learn how to recognize the symptoms of broken bones, how to provide first aid treatment, and when to seek professional help.
Signs and symptoms
The common signs and symptoms of broken bones include:
- deformity, swelling and bruising around the injury site
- pain or difficulty moving the injury
- a limb that may look shorter, bent, or slightly twisted
- a snap or grating noise or feeling from the ends of the broken bones
- difficulty or being unable to move the injured area
- a wound where the bone may be sticking out (known as an open fracture)
- signs of shock (particularly in the thigh bone, hip or pelvis with fracture)
What To Do in Broken Bones Injury
Provide first aid immediately if you suspect a person has a broken bone or fracture. Do the following steps.
- Keep the person in the same position.
Do not move the victim unless there is an immediate danger. Moving them can only result in complications, especially if there is a fracture on the skull, spine, ribs, pelvis, or upper leg.
- Stop the Bleed
Before suspecting other injuries, attend to any bleeding wounds first. Control the blood flow by pressing firmly on the wound site using a clean dressing. If a bone is sticking, apply pressure around the edges of the open wound.
Once bleeding stops, cover the wound and never try to straighten broken bones.
- Limit movements.
For a suspected limb fracture, put a pillow under the person’s leg or forearm to support or comfort.
- Apply a splint
Someone can successfully do splints with first aid training. It involves manufactured supplies and can also be done through wooden boards and folded magazines for some fractures. Immobilize the limb below and above the injury.
- Use a sling
Slings can provide support for an arm or collarbone fracture. To do a sling, raise the fractured area if possible and use a triangular bandage to secure it. Then, apply a cold pack to the injury to help reduce swelling and pain.
- Avoid foods and drinks in the meantime.
Do not give the person food or drink until a doctor sees them. Prohibit eating or drinking in case the person will need surgery.
- Call emergency services.
In a severe fracture or see a bone sticking out, call triple zero (000) for emergency assistance.
The most crucial step to remember is never to move a person with a suspected fracture. Unnecessary movement may only bring severe pain and cause the injury to become worse.
Immediate and efficient first aid care for broken bones is essential. Moving a bone fracture can only increase pain, bleeding and cause damaged tissues. It can lead to complications in the healing and recovery stage later on.
First aid for broken bones is all about stopping the bleed and immobilizing the injury. Splints help limit movements and apply pressure to control the bleeding.
All these you can learn in a first aid course.