A fracture is a broken bone. A broken bone happens when one of your bones becomes cracked or broken into multiple pieces. It can result from a sports injury, accident, or violent trauma.
It is a significant and traumatic injury that requires medical attention. However, getting timely first aid from trained health professionals is not always possible. Furthermore, some situations may delay medical care for many hours even for days.
Due to this, it’s important to know how to provide first aid for broken bones in order to help yourself, your family or others who find themselves in emergency situations.
Symptoms of a broken bone
A broken bone can cause one or more of the following signs and symptoms:
- Severe pain in the injured area that gets worse when you move it
- Numbness of the affected area
- Tenderness, bluish color and swelling of the affected part
- Visible deformity in the injured area
- Bone cutting through the skin
- Profuse bleeding at the injury site
First-aid treatment of a broken bone
Don’t move the person except if necessary to avoid further injury. Take these actions immediately:
- Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number for an ambulance and get professional medical help on their way as quickly as you can.
- Arrest any haemorrhage. If they are bleeding, elevate and apply pressure to the wound using a sterile bandage, a clean cloth, or a clean piece of clothing.
- Immobilize the injured area. Don’t try to realign the bone or push a bone that’s sticking out back in. If you suspect they have a broken bone in their neck or back, help them stay as still as possible. If you suspect they have broken a bone in one of their limbs, immobilize the area using a splint or sling.
- Apply ice packs to reduce swelling and help relieve pain. Don’t apply ice directly to the skin. Wrap the ice in a towel, piece of cloth or some other material.
- If the injured person is not breathing and you can’t feel a pulse on her wrists or neck, then start administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (if you know how to) before the ambulance arrives.
- Immobilize the broken bone. It also helps reduce pain and protect the broken bone from further injury caused by movement.
- Treat for shock. If the person feels faint or is breathing in short, rapid breaths, lay the person down with the head slightly lower than the trunk and, if possible, elevate the legs.
- Consider pain medication whiles waiting for emergency medical personnel. Take acetaminophen to control the pain and make the wait more tolerable.