Firstly, it’s important to look at what a fracture is. A fracture is an injury to a bone. It may be a break, a crack, or a child may even have a bend in a bone. It can be very difficult to know if a fracture has occurred, especially if there is no deformity. The things to look out for are how the casualty is behaving, are they guarding their injury or looking like they are holding themselves strangely? Do they look pale and sweaty? Are they complaining of feeling nauseous or dizzy? Ask how the injury occurred – a fracture will usually involve some form of impact, whereas a twisting or over stretching movement will more likely result in a strain or sprain. There will also be pain at the site and a reluctance to try and move it. It is not necessarily a good thing to ask them if they can move it. So, what should you do if you suspect a fracture? Firstly it is important to prevent any more movement at the site and support it so the surrounding muscles can relax. Help the casualty to the ground and lie them down if possible, this will help any feelings of nausea or dizziness. You can then use rolled coats or jumpers along both sides of a limb or use your hands to support and immobilise the limb. Any fracture should be treated at hospital to ensure it heals well so you may need to call an ambulance if it is difficult for the casualty to be moved in a car. Please remember anyone, even an injured casualty, must be properly seat-belted in a car, therefore, if the use of a seat belt is impossible or would make their injury worse an ambulance must be called.
Finally, a break IS the same thing as Fracture so ignore any one who tells you otherwise!