In some cases, bone does not entirely break but will dislocate or become fractured within the body. It is important to call an ambulance and get the victim to the hospital immediately as broken pieces of bone may travel within the bloodstream and cause further problems. Here are some first aid while you’re waiting for help to arrive:
First Aid for Fractures and Dislocations
1. Monitor the patient’s lifeline. Follow DRABC.
If the person has multiple injuries or has been involved in a serious accident, your first priority is to maintain breathing and circulation.
2. Control any bleeding and dress open wounds.
Your second priority is to stem any bleeding and cover any open wounds to prevent further infection or contamination of the wound site.
3. Check for fractures
Do not move the patient, but ask them if they feel any other injuries to their body. In serious incidents, a patient may not feel an obvious fracture or dislocation, so check them over carefully, without moving the patient.
If you are not sure if the injury is a dislocation or a fracture, treat as a fracture.
4. Immobilize limb
If possible, place a padded splint next to the injured limb before bandaging. Use a wide bandage to prevent movement of the joints at either end of the fracture.
Check that the bandages are not too tight so they restrict blood flow, or too loose so they do not immobilize the injury. Check every 15 minutes until the patient is attended to by a professional.
For knee or elbow injuries: splint the entire leg or arm to prevent movement. Hold the limb to support it and pass the bandage through the natural hollows of the body. Do not move the limb in order to secure the bandage.
For leg fractures: immobilize the foot and ankle using a ‘figure eight bandage’ – passing the bandage across the top side of the ankle towards the right, under the arch of the foot, across the foot to the left side, and back over the top from the other side. Repeat a few times and secure.
For collarbone fractures: Immobilize and support the arm on the injured side of the body. For dislocation injuries: Rest, elevate the dislocation and apply ice to the joint.
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