In case of a suspected fracture, which is when the bone breaks and causes pain, inability to move, swelling and, in some cases, deformity, it is very important to remain calm, observe if there are other more serious injuries, such as bleeding, and call the emergency services.
Then, it is possible to perform first aid to the victim, which should follow the following steps:
- Keep the affected limb at rest in a natural and comfortable position;
- Immobilize the joints above and below the injury, using splints as shown in the images. In case of not having splints it is possible to improvise with pieces of cardboard, folded magazines or newspapers or pieces of wood, which should be placed with clean cloths to cushion, and tied around the joint;
- Never attempt to straighten a fracture or set the bone in place;
- In case of an exposed fracture, the wound should preferably be covered with sterile gauze or a clean cloth. If there is very heavy bleeding, it is necessary to make compression above the fractured region to try to prevent bleeding;
- Wait for medical help. If this is not possible, it is recommended to take the patient to the nearest first aid station.
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How to immobilize the affected limb?
Immobilization of the fractured limb is very important to avoid aggravation of the fracture and to ensure that the tissues continue to be properly perfused with blood. Thus, to perform the immobilization you must:
1. In a closed fracture
A closed fracture is one in which the bone is broken, but the skin is closed and the bone is not visible. In these cases, a splint should be placed on each side of the fracture and a bandage should be applied from the beginning to the end of the splints, as shown in the picture. Ideally, the splints should pass over and under the joints near the fracture region.
2. In an open fracture
In an open fracture, the bone is exposed and, therefore, the area should not be covered with the bandage at the time of immobilization, since, in addition to worsening the pain, it favors the entry of microorganisms into the wound.
In these cases, a splint should be placed behind the affected area and then tied above and below the region with a bandage, leaving it exposed.
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When to suspect a fracture?
Fracture should be suspected whenever an impact to any limb occurs and is accompanied by symptoms such as:
- Severe pain;
- Swelling or deformity;
- Formation of a purple area;
- Crepitus sounds when mobilizing or inability to mobilize the limb;
- Shortening of the affected limb.
In case of an exposed fracture, it is possible to visualize the bone outside the skin, being common that there is intense bleeding.
The doctor must confirm the fracture after a physical evaluation and an X-ray of the affected area; then, the orthopedist may indicate the most appropriate treatment, which involves repositioning the bone, immobilization with splints and casts or, in certain cases, surgery.
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