Fractures, or broken bones, are certainly disturbing. As if the pain, discomfort, and occasional loss of blood and mobility wasn’t enough, some are afraid for the worst: the possibility of infection or amputation. Fortunately, with our modern day medical knowledge, we can do many things to prevent the worst from happening when dealing with fractures. In the world of orthopedic healthcare, there is no underestimating the importance of the knowledge needed to spot the signs of a fracture, as well as the importance of making the appropriate first-aid actions.
Spotting the Signs of a Fracture
Often times, fractures will not be visible, especially when they do not result in a break in the skin. However, it is still possible to spot the signs of one when you know what you are looking for. It is important to note that not all of the signs may present in each case. Here are some common possible fracture indications:
- Experience of pain and swelling in the area of injury
- Any discoloration of the skin in and around the area of injury
- A grating/grinding sensation when the ends of the injured bone rub together
- Deformity of the area that is obviously different from the uninjured side
- Loss of normal function or mobility
- In the case of an open fracture, a visible wound with punctured skin
However, in many cases, the injured person may have only heard or felt the bone break, and that might be all you have to go off of until proper diagnostics have been run.
Taking the Right Actions for a Fracture
As always, the first course of action is to call an ambulance or to arrange transport to a hospital. When in doubt, you should normally let the professionals handle the emergency. DO NOT under any circumstances unnecessarily move the afflicted and/or their injured body part. While waiting for medical professionals to arrive, there are some first-aid measures you can act on, such as:
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 a clean dressing over the injured area, but be sure to do so loosely. If you can, try to keep it clean in order to avoid infection.
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 you are confident in their proper usage.
Ensure as much comfort as possible
Use clothing, blankets and pillows as padding around the injured part as well as in the knees or back of the patient’s elbow.
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. Again, DO NOT under any circumstances unnecessarily move the afflicted and/or their injured body part. When in doubt, call 911 for more instructions.
Always remember that fractures have the potential to be fatal, as broken bones can pierce internal organs and result in hemorrhages, among other complications. This is especially true in fractures that include dislocations in the face, jaw and ribs.
In summary: Use your knowledge for the benefit of the afflicted. However, if you have little experience in the matter, leave it in the hands of the professionals. For more information, call 888-719-8448 to make an appointment, or walk in to any of our locations, such as the Perris office.