A fracture is a break in the integrity of a bone. Fractures are most often caused by a blow, a jolt, a fall, or by a thrown object hitting the bone. Fractures of the lower extremities and skull usually occur this way. When an indirect impact occurs, seen when falling, stumbling, or falling in the street during ice conditions, forearm fractures occur. Fractures of the skull and spine occur when falling from a considerable height. Compression fractures of the skull, thorax, and pelvis occur as a result of compression.
A closed fracture is considered to be a bone injury in which there is no significant damage to the skin. A typical symptom of a closed fracture is swelling, and in some cases there is a change in the appearance of the injured part of the body – curvature, especially characteristic of large fractures of the extremities. Movement in the adjacent joints is accompanied by significant stabbing pain at the fracture site.
In cases where the traumatic force acts on the body very intensely and sharply, the fractured bone penetrates through the skin to the surface of the body; such fractures are called open fractures.
First Aid. A bone fracture is a serious injury and requires immediate first aid. A fractured limb should never be waved, pulled, or turned; with an open fracture broken bones should not be pushed into the wound. One of the symptoms of a fracture is a crunch (crepitation) at the site of the fracture. This symptom should not be checked by forcing on the fractured bones. The pain of a fracture is caused by an injury to the periosteum, which is very rich in nerve fibers and pain-sensitive corpuscles.
An open fracture is first treated as a wound and then as a fracture. After that the fractured limb or part of the body is immobilized. If the victim complains of thirst he should be given water, preferably some mineral water. After careful immobilization of the fractured part of the body the victim should be taken to a hospital for surgical treatment.
If large-bone fractures are not treated immediately to reduce pain, to immobilize the fractured limb securely, and to arrange for comfortable, gentle transport to a hospital, the victim may go into shock.