First Aid for Fractures

Fractures or broken bones are a serious problem that requires immediate medical attention.

If the broken bone is the result of a major injury, call 911 or your local emergency number. Also call 911 if:

  • The person is not responding, isn’t breathing or isn’t moving. Perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if the person has no respiration or heartbeat.
  • There is heavy bleeding.
  • Even light pressure or movement causes pain.
  • The limb or joint appears deformed.
  • The bone has pierced the skin.
  • The extremity of the injured arm or leg is numb, or is bluish at the tip.
  • You suspect that the bone in the neck, head, or back is broken.
  • You think that in the hip, pelvis, or upper leg is broken.

While waiting for medical help to arrive, do the following actions immediately:

  • Stop any bleeding. Put pressure on the wound with a sterile bandage, a clean cloth, or clean piece of clothing.
  • Immobilize the injured area. Do not attempt to realign or even more the bone. However, if you are trained on how to splint – medical help isn’t available yet – then apply a splint to the affected area.
  • Put ice packs to limit the swelling and ease the pain until the emergency medical help arrives. Do not apply ice directly on the skin of the injured area. Wrap the ice in a towel or piece of cloth before applying it to the skin.
  • Treat the person for shock. If the person looks or feels faint, or is breathing in short rapid breaths, lay him or her down with the head slightly lower than the trunk, and elevate the legs if possible.

Source: Mayo Clinic