Fracture – First Aid

Fracture first aid involves these steps:-

Fracture first aid

  • Keep the victim as warm and comfortable as possible;
  • Gently remove clothing from any open wound and cover it with a clean (preferably sterile) dressing
  • Do not try to manipulate the bone or joint, as further (potentially very serious) damage may be caused
  • Move the affected area as little as possible and immobilise the fracture
  • If the injury is in the arm, use a sling or strap the arm to the body. If the leg is injured, strap the injured leg to the uninjured leg. Alternatively make a splint from a broom handle, branch or a rolled-up newspaper (remembering to protect any open wound)
  • Do not give the victim anything to eat or drink, as the setting of the fracture may require an anaesthetic.

For healing the bone fragments must be aligned as perfectly as possible after manipulation (under an anaesthetic if necessary), and fixed in position with plaster, pins, plates, or screws. It is normally necessary to prevent movement in the joints at either end of the broken bone. The exact treatment will vary considerably from one bone to another, with some fractures requiring minimal fixation (eg. fracture of humerus – upper arm bone), while others require major surgery (eg. fracture of hip). Movement at the fracture site may cause failure to heal, and chronic pain may occur at fracture site. Fractures requiring surgery and compound fractures are susceptible to infection. Death of bone tissue can occur if small fragments of bone are present.

(Last modified: 13th Oct 2014)

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