In both children and adults, fractures are classified as open or compound when the ends of the bone have broken through the skin, raising the risk of infection. In non-displaced fractures, the pieces on either side of the break remain lined up, and with displaced fractures the pieces of bone are not in line and may require surgery to align before casting. Hairline fractures have only a thin break in the bone, single fractures have only one break in the bone, segmental fractures have at least two and sometimes more breaks in the same bone, and in a comminuted fracture the bone is splintered or crushed.
You can identify a broken bone if you or the injured person hears, or the injured person feels, the bone break. The area will also be very tender to the touch, particularly in the area of fracture. Other signs of a broken bone include:
* Swelling around the break
* An unnatural position of the limb
* Pain on any attempts to move the limb
* Loss of a pulse below the injury
* Bone protrusion through the skin
* Abnormal movement
* A grating sensation
* Loss of function of the limb
Call 911 for any of the following:
* Heavy bleeding
* If even gentle pressure or movement causes pain
* Any limb or joint appears deformed
* A bone has pierced the skin
* Any extremity of an injured arm or leg is numb or bluish at the tip
* You think that a bone is broken in the neck, head, back, hip, pelvis, or upper leg
First Aid for Broken Bones
Remember to stay calm. Broken bones require medical attention, and fractures that are a result of a major trauma or injury require emergency care. Do not move the injured person, but do keep them warm.
* Until medical help arrives, check for ABCs, treat for shock, and begin CPR if needed as outlined in Chapter 2.
* Apply pressure to any wounds with a sterile bandage, clean cloth, or clean piece of clothing to control and stop any heavy bleeding.
* Use... [continues]
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