The incidence of fracture has vastly increased worldwide in recent times. The reason is fast moving lifestyle causing increased number of accidents, lack of exercise and poor diet causing weak bones (osteoporosis) and increased life expectancy.
Nearly every household has or knows somebody who is suffering from a fracture. In spite of it being such common problem there is hardly any awareness regarding the approach to proper treatment in fractures.
Although fractures might not be entirely preventable there are ways to minimize your fracture risk. One way is by building stronger bones and keeping them healthy.
In case of fracture I advise that you do not panic. Follow these simple first aid measures.
First Aid Measures:
If a person is suspected of having a fracture, do the following :
Try to maintain the patient still and composed. Prevent unnecessary movement arising out of anxiety or fear. Do Not Panic.
Examine the person closely for the presence of other injuries and call for medical help. If medical help is quickly available, hand over the patient to them for further treatment.
If there is a break in the skin surface, it can be rinsed to remove any visible dirt or other potential contamination. However, vigorous flushing or scrubbing of the wound should be avoided.
In case of bleeding from the injured limb use a cloth or cotton bandage to compress the bleeding site. Do not attempt to find the source of bleeding.
The broken bones can be immobilized with the help of splints. Rolls of newspaper, cardboard or strips of wood can be used. It is important to immobilize the area both above and below the injured bone.
Ice packs can be applied to reduce pain and swelling. Do not put ice directly over the skin. Keep the ice in a cloth or polybag and then apply it.
Do not give the person anything to eat or drink as this will cause any emergency operation difficult.
Take the patient to nearest hospital or medical facility for primary care. Treatment by Orthopaedic surgeon is preferable.
How do I Know I have a fracture ?
Pain and swelling in an area is hallmark of a fracture. If your limb is moving abnormally its most likely to be fractured. Sometimes it is difficult to know that there is a fracture. X-rays can detect most of the fractures. In some cases a CT-scan or an MRI scan may be needed.
Somebody has a fracture, what to do ?
Follow the First Aid guidelines given above. Contact your nearest medical centre with orthopedic facilities.
You can get in touch with me also through the helpline number given above.
Do I need an plaster or operation ?
Its best to leave it to your Orthopedic Surgeon to decide.
I have swelling even after opening of plaster.
It is quite common to have some swelling (especially in the legs) after opening plaster. There is no need to get worried. This swelling can last for a variable period from a few days upto 2 months. You should consult your doctor if there is excessive pain and stiffness or if the swelling persists for more than 2 months.
My fracture is not healing !
Once in a while I get patients whose fractures are difficult to heal. One common reason for it is that there is less bone formation around the fracture site. In such situations you may need operation with bone grafting to stimulate the healing process.
What is a Synthetic plaster ?
A Synthetic plaster is made out of fiberglass, a kind of moldable plastic. These casts come in many bright colors and are lighter. They are tougher and more durable than the traditional plaster of paris casts.
Fiberglass plaster are strong enough to allow immediate weight bearing.
Synthetic plasters can be combined with waterproof liners to give you a waterproof plaster.
Read more: Osteoporosis -- No. 1 Cause of fractures in elderly patients.