What is Dislocation of Bones?
A fracture means a bone is broken. In accidents, several may be affected. As bleeding, injury to surrounding structures, pain, shock or infection may all occur, emergency treatment is advisable. The key to success is to get the patient to emergency professional help as quickly as possible. Make the casualty comfortable and attend to any emergency symptoms that are amenable to first aid help.
The break in the bone is usually complete, but in children in whom growing bones are soft, it may be bent, cracked and incompletely broken (called a “greenstick” fracture).
The fracture may be closed or open (simple or compound), depending on whether it communicates with the air outside. Open fractures are more serious, for this allows contamination to enter the wound and probably the bone. Some fractures are “complicated,” which means surrounding structures, such as internal organs, blood vessels or nerves are also injured. These too are more serious, for they can lead to important complications. Fractures may be produced by direct force (such as receiving a direct blow by a car). They may be indirect, such as falling on the outstretched arm, which causes fracture of the shoulder bones. for instance. Occasionally sudden muscle contraction may cause a fracture.
Bones are well endowed with blood vessels, and any fracture, especially of major bones, is invariably accompanied by a heavy blood loss and consequent shock. (For example, a fractured femur, the large bone in the upper part of the lower limb, may hemorrhage a liter or more of blood if broken.) Pain invariably occurs. The first aider will endeavor to prevent further damage and minimize risks from blood loss, reduce pain, and if possible reduce the chances of infection.
The basic essential of immobilizing (stopping further movement) the injured part is to disturb the patient as little as possible, inflict minimum pain and avoid complications. Injured parts should be supported in a natural a position as possible.
Dislocation of Bones Symptoms
- The fracture site is painful, swollen and bruised.
- There is loss of function of the part, particularly noticeable in limbs.
- The part may be obviously deformed.
- There may be abnormal mobility of the part.
- Shock, to some extent, is usually present. In injuries to larger bones, this may be severe.
What to Do in the Case of Fractures
- Aim at bringing relief to the major injuries as quickly as possible, without making the condition worse, and then getting the casualty to expert medical attention (preferably the emergency ward of a large hospital) as soon as possible. Often assistance is necessary.
- Keep calm. Don’t panic. Often the sight is distracting, and may nauseate you. Keep a cool head and act deliberately, but calmly and methodically. Rushing breeds confusion.
- Immobilize the fracture (i.e. prevent further movement).
- Control bleeding if present.
- Handle gently, for it is easy to convert a simple fracture into a more complicated one.
- Reassure the patient with words of comfort and confidence.
Dislocation of Bones Treatment
Often the use of broad bandages can help this. If not possible, narrow ones may be used. Triangular and crepe bandages are often useful in an emergency. Every effort should be made not to disturb or hurt the patient. Avoid jerking movements, particularly when bandaging or securing them.
Sometimes splints are necessary to prevent movement of the injured parts during transport. Anything that is wide, long and firm may be suitable. They should be well-padded, and securely applied, so as to immobilize the joints above and below the break.
Adequate padding will improve the efficacy of the splints, and this helps to bring relief to the patient. These can be improvised from any sort of material in an emergency.
Rather than run risks of bringing further damage to the patient (such as in suspected spinal fractures, where care in handling may be vital), it is advisable to make the patient as comfortable as possible, and call the ambulance. Ambulance officers are specially trained to handle potentially serious fractures, and know the special movements necessary. Also, some are equipped with special stretchers that can pick up the patient from the ground, thus ensuring minimum movement and risks.
Most people will not be conversant with the various first aid bandaging techniques that have been worked out for the different kinds of fractures. For practical purposes, general principles may be adhered to, and the patient transferred to expert help as a matter of urgency. Some general principles will be outlined that may be of assistance. This is not the time to teach bandaging.
However, anyone interested in learning full techniques is advised to take a St John First Aid instruction course, which gives excellent instruction in these useful techniques.