A broken bone, or fracture, is an injury that requires immediate medical attention. Aside from the actual fracture of the bone itself, other symptoms may accompany the bone injury, depending on the severity of and circumstance in which the injury occurred. Here’s what you can do to help keep the victim comfortable and prevent further injury until help arrives.
Method 1 of 3: Early Diagnostic Action and Treatment
1 – Call for emergency help if the injury is severe. Some severe fractures that accompany trauma or major injury will require immediate and expert help. Indications of a severe injury may include one or more of the following:
- The person is unconscious, is not breathing, or has no heartbeat. You may need to perform CPR.
- The person is pale, sweaty (cold sweat), short of breath and/or confused. These are symptoms suggestive of shock.
- The person is bleeding severely.
- The injury is to the head, neck, back, hip, pelvis, or upper leg.
- The injured limb or joint looks deformed or seems to be out of the usual position.
- Any little movement or light pressure causes pain.
- The bone has pierced through the skin (an “open” fracture).
- The extremity of the injured arm or leg is numb or bluish at the tip.
3 – Immobilize the injured area. Don’t ask the person to move their fractured limb; help them get comfortable where they are. Do not try to move the limb or bone to its original position, unless circulation is cut off.
- Do not move a person with a hip or pelvis fracture. If they must be moved, however, strap the legs together with a towel or blanket in between them and place the person gently on a board.
5 – Treat the person for signs of shock. Shock is dangerous because it routes blood and oxygen away from vital organs.This physiological state, if left untreated, can ultimately cause organ damage.
- Symptoms of shock include:
- Cool, clammy skin
- A weak but rapid pulse
- Glassy, unfocused eyes
- An unconscious or semi-conscious state
- Treat shock by:
- Having the person lie down and elevate their feet slightly higher than their head
- Wrapping a towel or blanket around the person to keep them warm
- Turning the person on their side if they start to vomit from nausea
2 – Get something rigid to act as the skeleton of the splint. Candidate items will include rolled up newspapers and magazines, boards, or even sticks. If you can’t find any of these items, a blanket or article of clothing will do.
- Another limb can also serve as the skeleton of the splint. For example, tape a broken finger or toe to its adjacent finger or toe with padding in between if possible.