Fractures can be a disturbing sight, indeed, especially for untrained individuals – the broken bone sticks out of the skin, the blood flows over the limb, and the limb sticks out in an unnatural way, for example. Many will even fear the worst in fractures such as the limb being infected or amputated, which are possible with inappropriate actions from either the affected person or the persons around him.
Indeed, the importance of knowledge cannot be underestimated in avoiding the worst things that can happen in fractures! Said knowledge should include spotting the signs of a fracture, both hidden and obvious, as well as making the right first-aid actions.
Spotting the Signs
Many fractures are not visible especially when the broken bone does not result in a break in the skin. Still, the signs of a fracture are evident when you know what to look for including: (Not all the symptoms may be present in each case)
- pain and swelling in the injured area
- discoloration of the skin in and around it
- deformity of the affected area in comparison with the uninjured side
- loss of its normal function
- visible wound in case of an open fracture
- grating sensation when the ends of the injured bone are rubbing together
In many cases, the injured person may have heard or felt the bone break although not everybody will report it as a symptom.
Making the Right Actions
Of course, the first course of action is to call an ambulance or to arrange transport to a hospital, if the patient is conscious. When in doubt, let the professionals handle the emergency although you can act on first-aid measures like:
- Control any bleeding
If a wound accompanied by bleeding is present, apply direct pressure around the exposed bones. Apply padding around it, either above or below, and then apply clean dressing over the injured area but be sure to do so loosely.
- Immobilize the injured part
Both the pain from the fracture and the risk for further injury can be reduced by supporting and immobilizing the injured area (e.g., arm or leg). Splints can be used, if and when you know how to use these things.
- Ensure as much comfort as possible
Use clothing, blankets and pillows as padding around the injured part as well as in the hollows (e.g., knees) of the patient.
But before taking action, look at the injured part first since you may be worsening the break and adding to the pain instead of making things better. DO NOT under any circumstances unnecessarily move the patient and/or his injured part. Again, when in doubt, call 911 for more instructions.
Always remember that fractures can be fatal because broken bones can pierce internal organs and result in hemorrhage, among other complications. This is especially true in fractures including dislocations in the face, jaw and ribs.
The bottom line: Use your knowledge for the benefit of the patient but when you have little experience in the matter, leave it in the hands of the professionals even when it initially means calling the 911 operator for assistance before the paramedics arrive. For more information call 888-719-8448 or walk in to any of our locations such as, the Perris office near Nuevo, Sun City, Canyon Lake, Homeland, Romoland, and Lakeview.
Healthpointe is a leading multidisciplinary healthcare organization offering a full range of medical services in practice locations throughout Southern California (Los Angeles county, Orange county, San Bernardino county and Riverside county). Healthpointe has locations situated in over 10 cities in Southern California including La Mirada, which is conveniently located near Whittier, La Habra, Norwalk, Cerritos, Buena Park, and Santa Fe Springs. As a highly regarded musculoskeletal group, we have a personal investment in the highest level of service, and we are proud of our record of excellence over the last four decades with private patients, injured workers, urgent care, personal injuries, and professional and non-professional athletes. Leading our organization is a dynamic team of healthcare professionals who continually strive to be at the forefront of medical innovation and healthcare service delivery. For more information, a complete list of services, and Healthpointe locations, visit http://www.healthpointe.net/.