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What to Do if You Think You Have a Fracture

Aug 1, 2015

Fractures are common injuries that people experience, especially with sports and other physical activities as well as motor vehicle accidents. A fracture occurs when a bone is struck with a force that’s so great that the bone breaks. Some fractures are more severe than others depending on how hard the bone is struck. Treatment for this type of injury is typically straightforward, but it’s crucial that you address your fracture immediately to prevent it from getting worse. If you’re hurt because of a fall or a collision and are experiencing a great amount of pain, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a fracture. Read on to find out what to do in this case.

1.Get medical help.

If your fracture is causing extreme pain, you may need to call an ambulance. Otherwise, someone may be able to take you to the emergency room or schedule adoctor’s appointment. Even if you’re not sure that you’ve broken a bone, it’s best to get it checked out so you can receive the proper care.

2.Try not to move the broken bone.

One of the most important points to remember about a fracture is not to move it. Moving a fracture could make the break in the bone even more severe. Be still and stabilize the bone to protect it and make sure that it can’t be jostled. This is especially important when you’re dealing with an injury involving the head, neck, spine, or hip. Don’t move a person with this type of injury.

3.Apply ice to the injured area.

When you experience a bone fracture, you’ll notice some swelling almost immediately. Applying ice to the fracture, with a towel between the ice and the skin, can help reduce the swelling and minimize the pain as well. Try to hold the ice on the affected area for 20 minutes, then remove it for 20 minutes, and repeat this process.

4.Help the patient avoid shock.

With more severe fractures, the pain can be great and can cause the patient to go into shock. To avoid this, keep the patient flat and warm with a blanket. Don’t move the person if a head, neck, or back injury is suspected and be mindful of their injured area.

5.Take care of an open fracture.

In the case of an open fracture, the wound must be cleaned. Rinse it with water to remove dirt and bacteria and then cover it with a clean dressing. If there’s a lot of bleeding, apply gentle pressure. When you finally arrive at the doctor’s office or emergency room, you’ll discuss what happened with the physician as well as your medical history. He or she will perform a physical examination and will order X-rays to determine what has been fractured and how badly.

For more information about fracture care, click here to download our free eBook,Understanding Fracture Care: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment.

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