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What is the first aid treatment for bone fractures?

 Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD
Emergency Medicine
If you suspect that someone has fractured a bone:

  • Do not force anyone to use a painful body part.
  • Do not straighten a misshapen bone.
  • Do not place ice/cold pack directly on skin.
  • Do not move victim if neck or spine injury is suspected, unless absolutely necessary.
  • Do not move until injury has been immobilized.
  • Do not remove shoes, boots, or clothes around a possible fracture.
  • Splinting is unnecessary if victim can give the broken bone sufficient support and immobility.
  • Do not splint a possible fractured bone if doing so causes pain.
The following is the first aid treatment for closed fractures:

  • Call for medical help if the bone is abnormally bent.
  • Stabilize the injured area in position found. Splint if necessary.
  • Apply cold pack (mixture ice/water) through a barrier directly to area for up to 20 minutes at a time or until uncomfortable.
  • Elevate the injured area if it can be immobilized and does not cause more pain.
  • Get medical attention.

The following is the first aid treatment for open fractures:

  • Call for medical help.
  • If necessary, control bleeding by applying continuous pressure above the fracture site.
  • Cover wound with dry sterile dressing.
  • Stabilize the injured area in position found. Splint if necessary.
  • Monitor and treat for shock if present.
Doc's First Aid Guide: Read It Before You Need It

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Doc's First Aid Guide: Read It Before You Need It

In a medical emergency, time is of the essence. "Doc's First Aid Guide" is an illustrated, first-aid pocket handbook designed to be used as a quick reference and includes the latest CPR guidelines....

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.