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Fractures

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FracturesA break or crack in the continuity of a bone - caused by direct blow or indirect force such as twisting.

Types of fractures

  • Closed Fracture: a broken bone that does not break the overlying skin. Tissue beneath the skin may be damaged
  • Open Fracture: a broken bone that breaks (pierces) the overlying skin. The broken bone may come through the skin, or a missile such as a bullet or shell fragment may go through the flesh and break the bone. An open fracture is subject to infection
  • Stress Fracture: a hairline crack in the bone due to repeated stress
  • Greenstick Fracture: in children's flexible bones

Symptoms

  • Severe pain
  • Swelling in the affected area
  • Deformity/misshapen body part
  • Bruises or bleeding
  • Discolouration of skin
  • In case of an open fracture, the bone is visible
  • Numbness in limb
  • Loss of function of joint, limb or digit

Action

  • Reassure and calm the casualty
  • Loosen any tight clothing
  • If the casualty has any jewelry/watch on the affected limb, remove and place in casualty's pocket
  • Immobilize injured bone or joint - with a splint, only if you have been trained in applying a splint
  • Apply ice to reduce pain/ swelling. Do NOT apply ice directly to the skin - wrap the ice in a towel, piece of cloth or some other material.
  • Get medical help
  • Do NOT move casualty especially with injured hip, pelvis or upper leg
  • If there is bleeding near injured bone, do NOT wash wound. Place clean cloth over wound and tie a bandage.
  • Do NOT massage the area
  • Do NOT attempt to straighten or change position of misshapen bone
  • Do NOT cut off blood circulation when applying a splint or sling
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