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First Aid for Fractures and How to Prevent Them From Happening

First Aid for Fractures and How to Prevent Them From Happening

Fractures range from mild injuries to very serious cases that require immediate medical attention. They are also a fairly common type of injury, so it is important for everyone to know the right first aid for fractures.

Read on to learn more about fractures, what the common causes are, what first aid tips you need to know, and how to prevent them from happening in the first place.

What are fractures?

Our bones are fairly rigid structures. Our body needs our bones to provide stability, and our bones support us as we move. However, this doesn’t mean that our bones are indestructible.

Given enough force or repeated stress over a period of time, our bones can break, or get fractured. Our bones also vary in strength, with our femur or thigh bone being the strongest, and our clavicle or collar bone being the weakest.

The severity of fractures vary greatly depending on the cause of the injury. Some fractures can be minor and can heal on their own, while other fractures might even require surgery to set the bones in place and make sure that they heal properly.

Here are some common types of fractures:

  • Closed fractures, or fractures that occur without breaking the skin.
  • Open fractures, or a fracture where the skin is broken, usually by the bone.
  • Complete fractures, or a type of fracture where the break goes completely through the bone.
  • Displaced fractures or fractures where there is a gap between the broken bone.
  • Partial fractures are fractures wherein there is a break that doesn’t go completely through the bone.
  • Stress fractures are fractures wherein the bone has a small crack in it.

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How do people get fractures?

Anyone can get a fracture. However, the most common ways that people get fractures is from an injury such as from an accident. In some cases, sports injuries can also cause a person to become more prone to fractures.

In older people, the condition known as osteoporosis can increase the risk of fractures. Osteoporosis is a disease wherein the bones gradually lose their strength, and it’s much more common among the elderly. This is the reason why elderly folks need to avoid falls as much as possible as fractures can lead to serious complications.

What long-term effects can fractures have?

The long-term effects of fractures depend on how severe the fracture is. It’s possible for some fractures to heal on their own and cause very little discomfort to a person, even if they didn’t seek medical attention.

If a more serious fracture is not treated properly, then the bone might not be able to heal the right way, which is known as malunion. Malunion can cause limbs to be bent or twisted, and problems such as pain, a limp if the legs are affected, arthritis, and reduced function of the affected limb.

It’s also possible for a fracture to become a cause of infection. This can lead to a condition known as osteomyelitis, or an infection of the bone. If the infection spreads far enough, it can even lead to amputation of the limb. So it is important to know first aid for fractures and to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

First aid for fractures

Knowing first aid for fractures is important information for everyone. While fractures do vary in severity, and some might require more care than others, here are some important things to remember:

  • If there is any bleeding, disinfect the area if you can, and try to halt the bleeding by wrapping the area with clean gauze.
  • If there might be a spinal or neck fracture, don’t move the injured person. Instead, wait for help, and try to keep the person calm.
  • You can also try applying a cold compress to the affected area to bring down swelling and provide relief.
  • It would be best to go to the hospital, even if the fracture doesn’t seem too serious at first glance. This helps ensure that the fracture heals properly, and without any problems.

How can fractures be prevented?

Here are some tips to prevent fractures:

  • Engaging in daily exercise helps strengthen joints and muscles, and lowers the risk of injury.
  • Wear the right equipment when engaging in various sports.
  • For elderly folks, try to avoid activities that put you at risk for falls.
  • Use handrails when going down the stairs to avoid injuries.
  • When walking outside during the rain, be extra careful and make sure you have stable footing to avoid slips.

Learn other First Aid Tips here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Fractures (Broken Bones) – OrthoInfo – AAOS, https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/fractures-broken-bones/, Accessed May 18, 2021

Bone Fractures: Types, Treatment & Symptoms, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15241-bone-fractures, Accessed May 18, 2021

Complications from Fractures. Information and treatment | Patient, https://patient.info/doctor/complications-from-fractures, Accessed May 18, 2021

First Aid – Fractures, https://www.moh.gov.sa/en/HealthAwareness/EducationalContent/Firstaid/Pages/007.aspx, Accessed May 18, 2021

First Aid for Fractures – Geriatric Fracture Center – Highland Hospital – University of Rochester Medical Center, https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/highland/departments-centers/geriatric-fracture/patient-education/first-aid.aspx, Accessed May 18, 2021

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated May 20
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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