How to Deal with Fractured Bones
Posted on May 22, 2016 | Author and Reviewed by: Dan Lois B. Villanueva. RPh
A broken bone requires immediate medical attention. You or your companion has a broken bone if you heard or felt a snap, has difficulty moving the injured part, or if the injured part moves in an unnatural way and it’s painful to the touch. While there are lists of drugstores in the Philippines who can offer the needed supplies and medication to ease the pain, there is a small chance you are nowhere near a drugstore to buy the needed things to tend to a fracture. Before you panic, here are some things you need to know about fractured bones:
Cause of broken bones
When a blow, a fall, or any outside force was exerted on the bone, there is a huge possibility that the bone may not be able to withstand it and break. Some fractures break the bone completely while others just crack the bone. Bones are actually very strong; they are designed to absorb pressure when you fall or if you get in an accident. But they can only absorb so much before breaking. Fractured bones can occur during an injury, a fall from a certain height or unsafe surfaces, or overuse. Osteoporosis can also cause broken bones although this case is more common with older people.
Types of broken bones
- Simple fracture – When the bone breaks into two pieces
- Open or compound fracture – When a piece of bone protrudes through your skin or if the force of the injury breaks the skin.
- Closed fracture – When the bone breaks but the skin is intact.
- Spiral fracture – When the break spirals around the bone. This can happen if something twists the bone.
- Compression fracture – When a bone is crushed, such as when a vertebrae in the spinal column push together in an accident.
- Greenstick fracture – Happens to children. It’s when a break occurs on one side of the bone, and the other side bends in response to the pressure.
- Comminuted fracture – When an injury causes a bone to shatter into at least three bone fragments.
- Transverse fracture – When the break occurs across the shorter part of your bone, rather than down the length of the bone.
- Avulsion fracture – When an injury causes the tendon or ligament attached to the bone to pull off a piece of the bone.
- Impacted fracture– When a force presses against both ends of the bone, pushing the broken ends together.
- Stress fracture – When overuse or repetitive motion causes a small crack in the bone.
Treatment options for broken bones
Don’t move the person as much as possible to avoid further injury. The following first-aid techniques may be done while waiting for medical help:
Immobilize the injured area
Never, ever try to realign the bone or push a bone that’s sticking out back in. If you know how to apply a splint, do so on the areas above and below the fracture sites. Apply padding on the splints to help reduce discomfort.
Apply ice packs
Wrap some ice in a towel, a piece of cloth or any kind of material then apply it on the skin to limit swelling and help relieve pain. Don’t put the ice directly on the skin as this can cause more discomfort as time passes by.
If there is any. Apply pressure to the wound with a sterile bandage or a clean piece of cloth. Gently clean the wound as well with soap and water to prevent bacteria from entering the wound.
Treat for shock
If the injured person feels faint or is taking short, rapid breaths lay him down with the head slightly lower than the trunk. If possible, elevate the legs as well.
What will happen next?
Healing can take weeks or even months, depending on the type and severity of the break. Usually, fractures in adults take a minimum of six weeks to heal. Children, on the other hand, heal faster. When the bone is thoroughly healed, the doctor may recommend that you exercise to strengthen the muscles that you didn’t get to use since your bone was in a cast. Accidents happen to anyone anytime so it is best to be careful to avoid getting hurt or, worse, acquiring broken bones.