Condition "Fracture"

Print this page Bookmark and Share

Definition

A broken (fractured) bone requires emergency care. Suspect a possible broken bone if your child heard or felt a bone snap, if your child has difficulty moving the injured part, or if the injured part moves in an unnatural way or is very painful to the touch.

A sprain occurs when the ligaments, which hold bones together, are overstretched and partially torn. Simply overstretching any part of the musculature is called a strain. Sprains and strains generally cause swelling and pain, and there may be bruises around the injured area. Most sprains, after proper medical evaluation, can be treated at home.

What to Do:

For a Suspected Broken Bone:
  • If the injury involves your child's neck or back, do not move him unless the child is in imminent danger. Movement can cause serious nerve damage. Phone for emergency medical help. If your child must be moved, the neck and back must be completely immobilized first. Keeping your child's head, neck, and back in alignment, move the child as a unit.
  • If your child has an open break (bone protrudes through the skin) and there is severe bleeding, apply pressure on the bleeding area with a gauze pad or a clean piece of clothing or other material. Do not wash the wound or try to push back any part of the bone that may be sticking out.
  • If your child must be moved, apply splints around the injured limb to prevent further injury. Leave the limb in the position you find it. The splints should be applied in that position. Splints can be made by using boards, brooms, a stack of newspapers, cardboard, or anything firm, and can be padded with pillows, shirts, towels, or anything soft. Splints must be long enough to extend beyond the joints above and below the fracture.
  • Place cold packs or a bag of ice wrapped in cloth on the injured area.
  • Keep your child lying down until medical help arrives.
For a Suspected Sprain or Strain:
  • If the injury involves your child's neck or back, do not move him unless the child is in imminent danger. Movement can cause serious nerve damage. Phone for emergency medical help. If your child must be moved, the neck and back must be completely immobilized first. Keeping the head, neck, and back in alignment, move your child as a unit.
  • It may be difficult to tell the difference between a sprain and a break. If there is any doubt whatsoever, phone your doctor or take your child to the nearest hospital emergency department. An X-ray can determine whether a bone is broken.
  • First aid for sprains and strains includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (known as RICE).
    • Rest the injured part of the body.
    • Apply ice packs or cold compresses for up to 10 or 15 minutes at a time every few hours for the first 2 days to prevent swelling.
    • Wearing an elastic compression bandage (such as an ACE bandage) for at least 2 days will reduce swelling.
    • Keep the injured part elevated above the level of the heart as much as possible to reduce swelling.

ice pack on ankle

  • Do not apply heat in any form for at least 24 hours. Heat increases swelling and pain.
  • Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: September 2010


Related Articles


Show doctors

Show events

Show related content



Keywords: Orthopedics, broken bone

 

Visit our blog!

Visit the Dr. Mom Squad blog to join in the conversation with our experts! You will hear from four local women who have two big things in common; they are all doctors and they are all moms! Hear what they have to say on the latest kids health issues and learn tips on how you can help keep your kids stay healthy and safe!

 

  • Hand washing Know how to best clean your hands to prevent the cold and flu!
  • Sleep Make sure your child is getting enough sleep.
  • Green cleaning Do you know how to reduce allergy and asthma triggers by cleaning green?
  • Heat related illness Make sure your young athlete avoids the dangers of heat!

Free parenting enewsletter

Finding trusted child health and safety information doesn't have to be hard. eGrowing Together offers the latest health, safety and parenting information from our experts delivered to your inbox every month.

Sign up now!

Stay Connected

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Visit Our Blog Youtube Caring Bridge


Upcoming Events

Join Dayton Children's at the African American Cultural Festival. Learn about safe sleep for babies.

Value Added Packaging is hosting its 2nd annual Open House Job Fair Charity Event on Saturday, August 23.

Learn about healthy lifestyles!

Car Seat Safety Check

View full event calendarView full event calendar

Health and Safety

Your child's health and safety is our top priority

Accreditations

The Children's Medical Center of Dayton Dayton Children's
The Right Care for the Right Reasons

One Children's Plaza - Dayton, Ohio - 45404-1815
937-641-3000
www.childrensdayton.org