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First Aid For Fracture – How To Deal With Bone Fracture?

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Woman's Arm in a Sling

A bone fracture is a broken bone. It requires medical attention.

When a bone fracture has an outside force exerted upon it, like a blow or a fall, there is potential that it cannot withstand the amount of force and it breaks. That loss of integrity results in a fracture. It is important to remember that a fracture, break or crack all describe the same situation, an injury to the bone where it has been damaged.

first aid for bone fracture facts

One term is not more serious than another. Fracture, break and crack all mean the same thing. If the broken bone is the result of major trauma or injury, call 108 or your local emergency number.

The most important thing in bone healing is to provide adequate Vitamin D and calcium supplements for the new bone to form. Adequate activities as per advise of orthopaedician also improves the bone density rather than total immobilisation in late stages.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Signs and Symptoms of Bone Fracture

Broken bones hurt. The lining of the bone (periosteum) is rich with nerve endings that can cause pain when inflamed and the muscles surrounding the fracture go into spasm to prevent movement of the fracture site and this spasm may intensify the pain.

Bones have a rich blood supply and will bleed when injured. This causes swelling and the blood that seeps into the surrounding tissue also causes further pain. The discolouration due to the blood can show up as dark red or purple bruise in the area of the fracture site.

Because muscles and tendons may not be damaged, the person may be able to move the injured extremity. For that reason, just because you can move the injured area, doesn’t mean it’s not broken.

Call for Help Immediately if:

  • The person is unresponsive, isn’t breathing or isn’t moving. Begin CPR if there’s no breathing or heartbeat.
  • There is heavy bleeding.
  • Even gentle pressure or movement causes pain.
  • The limb or joint appears deformed.
  • The bone has pierced the skin.
  • The extremity of the injured arm or leg, such as a toe or finger is numb or bluish at the tip.
  • You suspect a bone is broken in the neck, head or back.

Till the arrival of medical personnel, follow these steps:

1. Stop any bleeding-  Apply pressure to the wound with a sterile bandage, a clean cloth or a clean piece of clothing.

2. Immobilize the injured area-  Don’t try to realign the bone or push a bone that’s sticking out back in. If you’ve been trained in how to splint and professional help isn’t readily available, apply a splint to the area above and below the fracture sites. Padding the splints can help reduce discomfort.

3. Apply ice packs to limit swelling and help relieve pain- Don’t apply ice directly to the skin. Wrap the ice in a towel, a piece of cloth or some other material.

4. 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.

Healing

The time required for bone healing can be affected by many factors, including the type of fracture and the patient’s age, underlying medical conditions and nutritional status. Bones may take 6 to 8 weeks to heal to a significant degree. In general, children’s bones may heal faster than those of adults.

There might be situations when a  fracture shows no signs of healing for a continuous period of three months, these cases are medically called as non union and they might commonly require surgery.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D.

After-Care For Fractures

Typically the doctor or surgeon will use a brace, cast or other methods to keep the concerned body in place. This helps to prevent movement and promotes bone fracture healing in the right position. Be sure to follow your doctor’s orders carefully to ensure the bone heals well. After the brace or cast is removed you will feel numb and stiff at the limb, don’t worry, this is normal. During the next month, be careful with your limb and do not put any undue pressure on it (exercise is typically not recommended except for supervised physiotherapy). As time passes by you will be able to use the affected part more and more, but be sure to follow up with the doctor to check that everything is progressing properly.

Also Read: 10 Bones for Strong & Healthy Bones

Disclaimer:  The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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