types of skeletal injury
fracture _______ a
break in the continuity of a bone.
dislocation _____ the
displacement of a bone from its joint.
sprain _________ injury
to the joint capsule and ligaments.
stretching or tearing of a muscle
complication of skeletal injury:
. immediate complication-severe hemorrhage and hypovolemic shock,
especially in fractures of the thigh or pelvis.
. late complication-fat embolism.
complications that jeopardize the limb
. direct pressure by the bone on nerves or blood vessels.
. compartment syndrome
. chronic infection and permanent disability.
bone is broken, or fractured, it affects not only blood production and
function, but there can be complications associated with the muscles,
tendons, nerves and blood vessels which are attached, or are close, to
Fractures are generally classified
there is a wound leading to the fracture site or the bone is
protruding from the skin.
- where the
bone has fractured but has no obvious external wound.
which may involve damage to
associated vital organs and major blood vessels as a result of the
The basic aim
of management for fractured limbs is immobilisation, which helps
reduce movement and the pain associated with fractures. Immobilise the
limb with a natural splint, such as another part of the body,
improvised splints, cardboard, wooden or air splints.
where force is applied sufficiently to cause the bone to
fracture at the point of impact.
force; where force or kinetic energy, applied to a large,
strong bone, is transmitted up the limb, causing the weakest bones
spasm-induced; where fractures are associated with
disease and/or muscular spasms. These are usually associated with
the elderly, and people with specific diseases affecting the bones.
diagnosis of skeletal injury:
history of the injury:
. typical mechanism of injury
. direction of force applied
. cracking sound
. pain and tenderness
. limitation of movement
. scraping of bone ends
. skin discoloration-red, then blue
. abnormal movement
pain at the site
associated organ damage
rapid, weak pulse
pale, cool, clammy skin
immobilizing the limb using board splints or bandage and transfer the
victim to hospital urgently.
Slings are used
to support an injured arm, or to supplement treatment for another
injury such as fractured ribs. Generally, the most effective sling is
made with a triangular bandage. Every first aid kit, no matter how
small, should have at least one of these bandages as essential items.
triangular bandages are preferable, any material, eg. tie, belt, or
piece of thick twine or rope, can be used in an emergency. If no
likely material is at hand, an injured arm can be adequately supported
by inserting it inside the casualty’s shirt or blouse. Similarly, a
safety pin applied to a sleeve and secured to clothing on the chest
essentially three types of sling; the arm sling for injuries to the
forearm, the elevated sling for injuries to the shoulder, and the
‘collar-and-cuff’ or clove hitch for injuries to the upper arm and as
supplementary support to fractured ribs.
After application of any sling, always check the circulation to the
limb by feeling for the pulse at the wrist, or squeezing a fingernail
and observing for change of colour in the nail bed. All slings must be
in a position that is comfortable for the casualty. Never force an arm
into the ‘right position’.