Remember that any injured part is likely to swell, and
splints or bandages that are all right when applied may
later be too tight.
FRACTURES. A break in a bone is called a
fracture. There are two main types of fractures. A
closed fracture is internal where the bone is broken but
there is no break in the skin. With an open fracture,
there is an open wound in the tissues and the skin where
the bone has broken through. This type of break and
wound is also referred to as a compound fracture.
Figure 13-9 shows closed and open fractures.
When providing emergency medical treatment to a
person who has suffered a fracture, you should follow
these general rules:
1. If there is any possibility that a fracture has been
sustained, treat the injury as a fracture.
2. Get medical aid at the first possible opportunity.
All fractures require medical treatment.
3. Do not move the casualty until the injured part
has been splinted.
Figure 13-9.Closed and open fractures.
4. Treat for shock.
5. Do not attempt to locate a fracture by grating the
ends of the bone together.
6. Do not attempt to set a broken bone.
7. When a long bone in the arm or leg is fractured,
the limb should be carefully straightened so splints can
be applied. Never attempt to straighten the limb by
applying force or traction. Pulling gently with your
hands in the direction of the long axis of the limb is
permissible, and may be all that is necessary to get the
limb back into position.
Figure 13-8.Splint for a fractured femur.
8. Apply splints. If the casualty is to be transported
only a short distance, or if the patient will be seen very
soon by a medical officer, it is probably better to leave
the clothing on and place emergency splinting over it. If
the casualty must be transported for some distance, or if
a considerable period of time will elapse before the
patient can be treated by a medical officer, it may be
better to remove enough clothing so that you can apply
well-padded splints directly to the injured part.
9. If the fracture is open, you must take care of the
wound before you can treat the fracture.
SPRAINS. A sprain is an injury to the ligaments
that support a joint. A sprain usually involves a
momentary dislocation, with a bone slipping back into
place on its own accord.
Tearing of supporting ligaments is probably the
most serious part of a sprain, but there is also a
considerable amount of damage to the blood vessels
and other soft tissues that surround the joint. When
the blood vessels are damaged, some blood may
escape into the joint itself and into the tissues. This
causes the severe pain and marked swelling
characteristic of a sprain.