First Aid: How to Treat Broken Bones and How to Apply a Splint
Everyone should know a little bit of first aid. Knowing how to treat fractures or broken bones is something everyone should grasp. A broken bone is often debilitating and cripplingly painful, preventing effective and efficient movement. Improperly handled, a broken bone can end up permanently weakened or injured. Even people who do not engage in extreme sports should know how to handle these injuries.
Is it Broken?
The first thing you should find out if it is actually broken.
There are six signs that a bone is broken or fractured.
• Misalignment or obvious deformity of the injured area
• Protruding bone fragment
• Sharp and deep pain whenever the injured tries to move it
• Extreme difficult moving the afflicted area.
How to Treat a Broken Bone
Fractures or broken bones require immediate attention. Even if you are capable of helping treat it, 911 or a local emergency service should immediately be informed. It becomes doubly important to request emergency services should the person injured be unable to breath or is bleeding heavily.
The injured party should not be moved if:
• If the joint or limb afflicted looks deformed
• If the broken or fractured bone has gone through the skin
• If the broken or fractured bone is in the back, head, neck, hip, pelvis, or upper leg
Moving an injured person at this point can cause more damage. If there is any bleeding, focus on stopping that first by applying pressure to the wound using clean cloth. Keep the afflicted area still, and use ice packs to inhibit the inevitable swelling. Wrap any ice packs in cloth – direct contact may cause further pain. In some cases, you may have to apply a splint to properly stabilize the broken bone.
How and When to Apply a Splint
Applying a splint is simple, but it still requires you to be careful. It also requires that you have dealt with any bleeding that may have occurred from the accident that caused the injury. Anything that is going to be splinted should be splinted in the position that it was found.
The first step is to find a straight and rigid object that is longer that the bone or joint that you intend to support. Sticks and boards work, but in a pinch rolled up newspapers will suffice. In the case of a broken finger, you can tape it to an adjacent finger to restrict movement. In case of broken skin, cover it with cloth first.
Next, tie the would-be splint to the injured area using rope, tape, or even a belt or necktie. Secure it above and below the injury, but be sure that any knots made do not push on the injured part. Keep an eye on the splint to make sure that it stays secure. If the injured part becomes pale or numb, it’s likely that the splint is too tight. Loosen it.
A splint is a stopgap measure. It’s not going to fix that broken bone or fracture. If you haven’t already, call for help and real medical attention. We also recommend taking a First-aid class in San Mateo by the American Heart Association.