Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS


Fractures of these bones are common in traumatic injuries

Symptoms include pain that increases with attempted movement or use of the area and swelling at the involved site. The skin in the area may be pale and an obvious deformity may be present. In severe cases, there may be a loss of pulse below the fracture site, accompanied by numbness, tingling, or paralysis below the fracture. Diagnosis begins immediately with an individual's own observation of symptoms. An X-ray of the injured area is the most common test used to determine the presence of a bone fracture. First aid is the appropriate initial treatment in emergency situations. It may be necessary to control bleeding before treating the fracture.

Treatment depends on the type of fracture, how severe the break is, the individual's age and general health. It includes proper immobilization (keeping the fractured bone from moving), control of blood loss, and monitoring vital signs such as breathing and circulation. Immobilization of a fracture site can be done internally with an operation that inserts metal pins or externally by using splints, casts, or braces. This may be the primary and only procedure for fracture treatment. A procedure called a reduction is done to realign the broken bone back into normal position. There are two types of fracture reductions. Closed reduction refers to placing the bone in its original position without breaking the skin, by either manual manipulation and/or traction. If an operation is needed this is called an open reduction. 

Types of fractures include:

  1. Closed - where the bone is broken but the skin is intact.
  2. Open – where the skin is torn, and the bone is showing.
  3. Incomplete – where he break does not occur through the whole bone.
  4. Complete – where the break is completely through the bone.
  5. Comminuted – where the bone is broken into many pieces.
  6. Long bone fractures – where the fracture occurs in the bones of the extremities (the arm and leg bones).