What Are the Kinds of Broken Bones?
In most cases the damage to the bone will be under the skin, which is called a closed fracture, but sometimes bits of the bone can puncture through the skin to become an open fracture. In both cases you'll need to treat the person for shock. Even if you can't see any blood, the break might have caused some internal bleeding.
To break a fully-grown bone, a huge amount of force is needed. But bones that are still growing are supple and can split, crack or bend quite easily, a bit like a twig. Types of bone fractures include:
- A greenstick fracture: a break on one side of the bone only
- A buckle or torus fracture: an outward bend on one side of the bone without breaking the other side
- An avulsion fracture: when a tendon or ligament pulls off of a tiny piece of bone
- A growth plate fracture: a break in the area of a child or teen's growing bone
- A stress fracture: a tiny crack in the bone
- A comminuted fracture: a bone breaks into more than two pieces
- A compression fracture: a collapsing of the bone
How do I know its broken?
There are seven things to look for if you suspect a fracture:
1. Swelling, bruising, tenderness
2. Difficulty moving the injured part or hurts when moving, being touched, or bearing weight
3. Movement in an unnatural direction
4. A limb that looks shorter, twisted or bent
5. A grating noise or feeling
6. Loss of strength
If the break is small or it's just a crack, there may not be much pain or even realise that a bone has been broken. No matter what part might be broken or how big or small the injury may seem, all broken bones need medical care.
What to do when you suspect a fracture:
- Do not attempt to move or reposition the injured limb
- Apply an ice pack wrapped in cloth
- Encourage the person to support the injury with their hand or use a cushion or items of clothing to prevent unnecessary movement. This should help relieve pain and prevent further damage
- Support the limb above and below the injury if possible
- Call 112 as soon as possible. If you can’t call 112, get someone else to do it.
- Continue supporting the injury until help arrives
- If it is an open fracture, cover the wound with a sterile dressing and secure it with a bandage. Apply pressure around the wound to control any bleeding.
While waiting for medical help to arrive:
- Keep checking the casualty for signs of shock. This does not mean emotional shock, but is a life-threatening condition, often caused by losing blood.
- If they lose responsiveness at any point, open their airway, check their breathing and prepare to treat someone who’s become unresponsive
- The injured person should not eat or drink in case surgery is required.
Call 112 Right Away If:
- You or someone else had a serious injury to the head, neck, or back.
- A broken bone comes through the skin.