FIRST AID FACT SHEET
How to treat broken bones and fractures
A fracture is a broken bone. It can be difficult to tell whether the injury is a fracture, dislocation, sprain or strain. If in doubt, always treat as a fracture.
Types of Fractures
- Closed - Bone is broken with skin intact.
- Open - Broken bone protrudes through skin or there is a wound.
- Complicated - Associated injury to a major nerve, blood vessel, or vital organ(s).
What to do
- Follow DRSABCD St John Action Plan
- Control any bleeding and cover any wounds.
- Rest and reassure, ask the casualty to remain still.
- Immobilise the fracture in most comfortable position:
DO NOT attempt to force a fracture back into place.
- Use broad bandages (where possible) to immobilise the fracture.
- Place a padded splint along the injured limb then bandage above and below the fracture site leaving a five (5) cm gap either side of the fracture to prevent movement.
DO NOT bandage over the fracture.
- The casualty may be able to support the fracture themselves.
- Check that bandages are not too tight or too loose and every fifteen (15) minutes and watch for signs of loss of circulation to hands or feet.
- Seek medical aid or call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance if required.
- Direct force - at site of impact.
- Indirect forces e.g. fall on feet and break spinal bone.
Signs and symptoms
- Pain at or near the site of the injury.
- Difficult or impossible normal movement.
- Loss of function.
- Deformity or abnormal mobility.
- Tenderness and swelling.
- Discolouration and bruising.
- Broken bone penetrating skin and bleeding.