First Aid - Fractures, Sprains and Strains

Fracture is a broken bone.  There are two types of fractures:

Closed fractures are those in which the skin is intact. Open

Open, also called compound fractures, involve wounds with mild or severe bleeding.  

Sprain is an injury which occurs as a result of stretching or tearing of ligaments. 

Strain is an injury, which occurs as a result of stretching or tearing of muscles. The symptoms are mild to severe pain, stiffness, swelling and/or bruising. 

Generally, it is hard to differentiate fracture vs. sprained/strained; however for the purposes of first aid administration the method of treatment is the same.  Therefore, when talking about sprain/strain, assume it can be a break and vice versa.  

First Aid:

  • If someone is there, send to call for help.  If the person is unresponsive, isn't breathing or isn't moving, proceed with CPR.
  • If bleeding, stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with a sterile bandage or a clean cloth.
  • Apply a bag of ice to the injured area for up to 20 minutes, with a towel (paper or cloth) between the skin and ice.
  • If raising the injured part does not cause more pain to the victim, attempt to raise it.
  • If the person feels faint or is breathing in short, rapid breaths, lay the person down with the head slightly lower than the trunk and, if possible, elevate the legs.