First aid for bone breaks: What you need to know
With kids back to school and playing sports, Dr. Richard L. Angelo, a highly rated orthopedic surgeon in Kirkland, Wash., says injuries — including fractures — are inevitable.
If someone around you suffers a broken bone, step up your game and lend a helping hand with these tips:
- Keep the person who's injured stabilized to prevent harming the nerve and tissue. If the bone is exposed, place a clean cloth over it.
- Apply direct pressure to the area if it's bleeding to reduce the amount of blood that's lost. Call 911 if there's excessive bleeding.
- Find a newspaper, stick or a rolled blanket and apply a splint just above or below the joint. Never attempt to straighten the limb out or push the bone beneath the skin, which could also damage nerve endings or arteries.
- Secure the splint by wrapping tape, gauze, a string or a piece of a T-shirt around it, but don't tie it too tight, which could cause discoloration or tingling in the fingers or toes.
- Once the bone is stabilized, transport the injured to the hospital or urgent care facility to get an X-ray, and keep ice on the location that has the most swelling.