Bone Fractures: First Aid for Accident Victims

Edited by Admin
Bone Fractures: First Aid for Accident Victims

Bone fractures are common injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents. Learn more about fractures and first aid treatments for them.


Bone Fractures

Human bones are incredibly strong. In fact, ounce for ounce, a human bone is stronger than steel. Bones are rigid, but they will bend slightly when outside force is applied. If too much force is applied, the bone will break. Although it depends on the condition and age of the bone, it can take approximately 4,000 newtons of force to break the human femur. Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents often result in large impact forces, and victims of collisions often suffer bone fractures. A bone can be completely fractured (or “broken”) or it may be only partially fractured. The severity of the injury will depend on two main factors: the condition of the victim’s bones and the force that caused the break. A smaller force can result in a crack in the bone rather than a full break; on the other hand, extreme force can shatter the bone.


Types of Fractures


Fractures are categorized according to type. There are six main designations:

  • Open or compound fracture. In this kind of fracture, the skin over the injury has been broken, either by the bone piercing the skin, or by the blow that caused the injury. These fractures are particularly serious because they may lead to infection in both the wound and the bone.
  • Closed or simple fracture: A fracture that does not break the skin.
  • Partial fracture. A fracture that results in the incomplete break of the bone
  • Complete fracture. A complete break of the bone causing it to be separated into two or more pieces
  • Stable fracture. The broken ends of the bone line up and are barely out of place. 
  • Displaced fracture. A fracture that features a gap between the broken ends of the bone. (Repairing a displaced fracture may require surgery.)


Following these designations, fractures can be further categorized as:

  • Greenstick fracture. In this type of fracture, the bone is not completely separated. These often occur in children whose bones are more malleable.
  • Transverse fracture. In this fracture, the bone breaks in a straight line across the bone.
  • Spiral fracture. In this type of fracture, the break spirals around the bone. These are the result of twisting injuries, and often appear in the long bones of the body: femur, tibia, fibula, or long bones of the arms.
  • Stress fracture. These are also called hairline fractures. This type of fracture looks like a crack and are often caused by repetitive motions, such as running. 
  • Compression fracture. In this type of fracture, the bone has been crushed and flattened. They often occur in the spine and can cause vertebrae to collapse.
  • Oblique fracture. In this type of fracture, there is a diagonal break across the bone. They occur most often in long bones.
  • Impacted fracture. These occur when the broken ends of the bone are driven together by the force of the injury that caused the fracture.
  • Segmental fracture. In this type of fracture, one bone has been broken in two places, leaving a segment of bone “floating.” These injuries can take longer to heal than other fractures.
  • Comminuted fracture. This type of fracture is usually the result of a great deal of force, and features bones that have shattered into three or more pieces. Most commonly seen in motor vehicle accident victims.
  • Avulsion fracture. This refers to a fracture where a fragment is pulled off the bone by a tendon or ligament. These types of bone fractures are more common in children than adults.


First Aid for Fractures


If you are on site when someone has fractured a bone, know what to do. If the victim doesn’t appear to be breathing, is unconscious, or both, call 911 for medical help and begin CPR. You should also call 911 if you suspect they’ve broken a bone in their head, neck, or back; if the fractured bone has pushed through their skin; if a toe or finger on the injured limb is discoloured; if the limb looks deformed, or if they’re bleeding heavily. Otherwise, immobilize the injured area and help the victim get to the ER so that a doctor can assess their injury.


While you are waiting for EMS:


  • Stop any bleeding: If bleeding is occurring, elevate and apply pressure to the wound using a sterile bandage, a clean cloth, or a clean piece of clothing.
  • Immobilize the injured area. If you suspect a broken neck or back, help the victim stay as still as possible.
  • Apply cold pack. Wrap an ice pack or bag of ice cubes in a piece of cloth and apply it to the injured area for up to ten minutes at a time. 
  • Treat for shock. Stay calm! Help the victim to get comfortable, suggest that they rest, and reassure them. Cover them with a blanket or clothing to keep them warm.


If you or a family member has suffered injuries due to a motor vehicle accident, contact a personal injury lawyer today. These lawyers can help you to obtain the compensation you deserve.