First Aid: Simple Fractures

Participants enrolled in standard, emergency or childcare first aid training through a credible Canadian provider will learn to recognize and treat patients with simple fractures. Simple fractures are breaks that occur in the bone from trauma, weak bone structure, intense physical activity, falls or hits. A simple fracture can be divided into two different types. A simple undisplaced fracture is very similar in signs and symptoms to a sprain or strain. A simple undisplaced fracture occurs when there’s a break in the surface of the bone but not in alignment. The only way to distinguish between a sprain or strain versus a undisplaced fracture is by x-ray. A displaced fracture is the other, more severe type of fracture. A displaced fracture occurs when there’s a break in the surface and in the alignment of the bone. This page will outline the signs and symptoms of simple fractures and the treatment for them. The material posted on this page is for information purposes only. To learn to recognize and provide care for fractures take a St Mark James first aid course.

Signs and Symptoms of a Simple Fracture:

  • Tightness in and difficulty moving the affected area. When a simple fracture occurs an automatic response from the body occurs that causes the muscles surrounding the area tighten to prevent further injury.
  • Swelling localized in the area of the injury.
  • Discolouration, also known as bruising in the affected area.
  • Pain which can be local or radiating from the affected area.

Treatment of Simple Fractures:

  • The rescuer should recommend to the patient to rest the injured area to prevent further injury. Rescuer should help immobilize the area for the patient in a comfortable position.
  • The rescuer should Ice the injured area for approximately 15 minutes every hour to help reduce swelling. A doctor may recommend to a patient some anti-inflammatory medication.
  • The rescuer should compress the area with a tensor bandage to prevent further swelling, immobilize and maintain alignment.
  • The rescuer should contact EMS through a bystander if available.
  • The rescuer should treat the patient for shock and asses the pulse and movement beyond the site of the injury.

To learn more about broken bones and fractures take a St Mark James first aid course.


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