A fracture is a broken bone. It requires medical attention. If the broken bone is the result of major trauma or injury, call 911 or your local emergency number.
Hip fractures and femur fractures often require a surgical procedure to repair. The extent of the surgery will depend on a number of factors including how the bone is broken and the condition of the patient. Pelvic fractures often are allowed to heal on their own, although in some instances surgery is recommended. When a fracture occurs in the arm, sometimes surgery is needed to repair it, or it may be better to allow the bone to heal on its own. The exact course of treatment is determined by a consultation with the orthopedic surgeon.
To reduce the risk of a fracture, it is important to keep your bones healthy. Attending one of our community lectures will provide information to help you keep your bones strong.
Also call for emergency help if:
- The person is unresponsive, isn't breathing or isn't moving. Begin CPR if there's no breathing or heartbeat.
- There is heavy bleeding.
- Even gentle 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, such as a toe or finger, is numb or bluish at the tip.
- You suspect a bone is broken in the neck, head or back.
Don't move the person except if necessary to avoid further injury. Take these actions immediately while waiting for medical help:
- Stop any bleeding. Apply pressure to the wound with a sterile bandage, a clean cloth or a clean piece of clothing.
- Immobilize the injured area. Don't try to realign the bone or push a bone that's sticking out back in. If you've been trained in how to splint and professional help isn't readily available, apply a splint to the area above and below the fracture sites. Padding the splints can help reduce discomfort.
- Apply ice packs to limit swelling and help relieve pain. Don't apply ice directly to the skin. Wrap the ice in a towel, piece of cloth or some other material.
- Treat for shock. If the person feels faint or is breathing in short, rapid breaths, lay the person down with the head slightly lower than the trunk and, if possible, elevate the legs.