Whether at a young age or as an adult, you likely know someone who has broken a bone. While you may be familiar with the casts and braces that heal a broken bone, it’s much more important to be aware of the steps to take immediately after a bone breaks. If you suspect you have a broken bone, here is how you should handle it.
Steps to Take After Breaking a Bone
Recognize the Signs of a Broken Bone
If you break a bone, you will likely notice one or more of the following symptoms:
Intense pain at the break site that worsens with movement.
Bluish coloring, swelling, or noticeable deformity at the break site.
Protruding bone through the skin.
Numbness at the injury site.
Heavy bleeding at the injury location.
After determining that you may have a broken bone, you’ll first want to stop the bleeding. Do this by elevating the wound and applying pressure with a sterile bandage or clean cloth.
Limit Movement of the Injury
If the suspected broken bone is in a limb, use a splint or sling to immobilize it. However, if the broken bone is potentially in the neck or back, attempt to keep the person as still as possible until professional help arrives.
Keep the Area Cold
Using an ice pack or a bag of ice cubes, apply something cold to the injured area for 10 minutes at a time. This will help reduce the pain as well as help slow any bleeding.
Between the pain, site of the injury, and fear, breaking a bone can send a person into shock. Try to keep as calm as possible while you wait for medical assistance.
Get Emergency Help
Especially if the injury is in the neck or back, call 911 and wait for emergency medical services to help. If the injury is somewhere less dangerous, such as an arm or leg, head to an emergency room as soon as possible.