Welcome to the March edition of Community Education. This month is the beginning of the Spring season and also the ending of winter. With all of the activities people start to do, we would like to talk about the different types of fractures, how to assist in stabilizing them, and what other signs/symptoms to look for.
What types of fractures are there?
There are four major categories of fractures that we want to cover here. These four major groups further subdivided into many other types of fractures that are usually identified with medical imaging and other methods. The four main categories are displaced, non-displaced, open and closed fractures.
A Displaced fracture happens when a bone breaks and the parts then move to where the ends of the bone do not line up with each other. A common type of displaced fracture is if the femur bone in your leg breaks and the ends then get pushed almost next to each other.
A Non-displaced fracture is when the bone breaks partially or fully but the ends still remain lined up in their normal anatomical position.
An Open fracture is when one of the fractures listed above breaks through the skin and is exposed. The fracture can recede back into the body but, it did puncture the skin at one point.
A Closed fracture is when the fracture does not puncture the skin.
What are the Signs and symptoms of a possible fracture?
Fractures are almost always caused from some sort of traumatic event. Symptoms include:
- Swelling or bruising over a bone
- Deformity of an arm or leg
- Pain in the injured area that gets worse when the area is moved or pressure is applied
- An inability to bear weight on the affected foot, ankle, or leg
- Loss of function in the injured area
- In open fractures, bone protruding from the skin
How to start treatment of a possible fracture!
First, if you suspect that someone has a fracture, this is a medical emergency and you need to CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY! There are some measures you can take to help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort associated with a fracture such as:
- Pad the affected area if possible WITHOUT moving the injured area.
- Apply ice to the area to assist with swelling. Be sure to use a barrier to the skin, such as a towel or shirt, as direct ice to skin can begin a different emergency
- Remove restrictive clothing from the fracture site such as shoes, tight athletic clothing, etc.
- If outside, keep the person warm/cool pending weather
- Do not move the person if they are not in immediate danger
- If trained, check for a pulse in the area of the injury (wrist for arm fractures, foot for leg fractures)
- Note any deformity and relay that to the person calling 911 so that ambulance crews get updated as they respond
For those looking to assist in further treatment, it is always recommended that you take a basic or advanced first aid class. Plymouth Community Ambulance Association can hold classes for you and other members of your community. If interested please send an email to [email protected]
For further information please reference: