In a split second you hear a dull crack, the next moment is usually agonizing pain in the area, and you know that you’ve broken a bone. While our bones do have some flexibility, when they encounter too much stress they will fracture, either partially or completely.
A broken bone, or fracture, is a serious matter. In order to prevent further damage to the bone and your surrounding anatomy, it’s important to know how to care for one in case medical care is not immediately available.
Here are 5 easy steps to remember for immediate care after a broken bone injury.
- Step 1: The most important step is to contact Movement Orthopedics as soon as possible. It is essential to have professional medical personnel involved when you’ve had a fracture, especially when you’re unsure of how serious an injury might be. Board-certified orthopedic specialist Dr. Jeffrey Carroll will be able to determine the extent of the break and any other sustained injuries once the patient has undergone advanced on-site diagnostic imaging.
- Step 2: Assess the injury (to the best of your ability) and determine necessary precautions to take. While you may be able to clearly see that the bone is broken, you may not be able to determine to what extent. If the head, neck, or back were injured, it is best not to move the patient at all unless doing so is necessary to prevent further injuries. Broken bones in the arms or legs are safer to be moved, though also not advised. Check to see if the injured person has sustained any other injuries besides the fracture, such as open wounds that may be bleeding.
- Step 3: Immobilize the injured area. In order to prevent further damage, only attempt to splint the injury if you have had proper training and you do not have immediate access to professional medical personnel. Create a makeshift splint from a hard, thin material such as a strip of wood. Fasten the splint above and below the break in order to prevent movement of the area. You may even wish to cushion the splint using a towel or a piece of clothing to prevent further pain or discomfort to the injured person. If the injured person has fractured a bone in their arm, create a makeshift sling out of cloth or a piece of clothing by cradling the arm in the center, and tying the ends around their neck to hold it in place.
- Step 4: Apply ice packs to the injured area to reduce swelling and pain. Make sure that you do not place the ice pack directly on the skin, but put it in a towel or bag to protect the skin from being burned.
- Step 5: Prevent yourself or the injured person from going into shock. When an injury is sustained, the body sends blood to the traumatized area as a means of transporting vital oxygen and nutrients to promote healing. A person can go into shock when not enough blood is being provided to their major organs as a result. In order to make sure this doesn’t happen, if possible, lie down flat and elevate your legs approximately 12 inches above the torso. Also, cover them with a coat or blanket. This is especially important if the injured person is beginning to feel faint or is starting to sweat or shake as though feverish.
The sooner you can see Dr. Carroll, the faster you’ll be set, braced, and on the road to recovery. Make an appointment at one of our two convenient locations in Clinton Township and Harper Woods by calling (586) 436-3785 today.
Have you ever broken a bone? Have you ever had to help someone who has?