Bone Fractures come in two basic types:
Closed Fractures: A broken bone that does not have an associated opening in the skin. The skin may be bruised and deformed, but there is no tear or wound in the skin associated with the bone break.
Open Fracture: A broken bone that has an associated opening in the skin. You can see the bone because of a hole in the skin. You can get an open fracture when a bone breaks and pokes through the skin or you can get an open fracture when something penetrates the skin and breaks the bone.
- Open Fractures are most likely contaminated and are a high risk for infection. It is very important to get open fractures treated by medical professionals in the shortest time possible due to the infection risk.
- If help is delayed and you have an open fracture it is important to control bleeding, and then clean the wound with large amounts of clean water and soap, clean it again, Lots of clean water. I said it multiple times for a reason; and then have a clean bandage applied.
[You may hear terms like; simple, compound, comminuted, spiral, etc to describe bone breaks, but for our purposes we'll keep it simple and stick with open and closed, broken or not.]
BASIC FIRST AID FOR FRACTURES OR SUSPECTED FRACTURES
- The number one goal is to immobilize the bone until professional medical assistance can properly evaluate and treat the injury.
- The key is to immobilize the joints above and below any suspected fracture while also stabilizing the area of the fracture.
Steps to take:
- Treat any life threatening injuries first
- Stop any bleeding . Use direct pressure to the wound with a sterile bandage, clean cloth, or piece of clothing.
- Immobilize the injured area. If any concerns of back or neck injury, keep them as still as possible. For limbs, immobilize using a sling or splint
- Apply cold to the area if possible. Ice packs and or ice cubes in cloth to reduce swelling.
- Treat for shock. Help get them in a comfortable position (if no back or neck injury suspected), offer calm and reassuring words. Provide blankets if cold or fan if warm.
- Get professional help.
Ideally, you want to at least be familiar with how to splint or immobilize a broken bone before you see one. Please take the time to review the guide below at least once before you need it!