What First Aid Can Be Done if a Bone Is Fractured?

Medically Reviewed on 12/30/2021
first aid emergencies: what happens when you break a bone
A bone fracture requires immediate medical attention; however, here is how to manage a fracture and ease the affected person until help arrives.

A fracture of a bone is an extremely painful injury where part of the bone is broken, and the tissue around may be injured and inflamed.

A bone fracture needs medical attention right away to manage the pain and treat it. The fracture may happen anywhere, so it is beneficial to know how to manage a fracture and ease the affected person until help approaches.

One who attempts to help the person with a bone fracture should maintain a cool and steady head and follow the listed first aid techniques.

  • Call for help immediately once you notice anyone with severe injury
  • Maintain the patient's position as still as possible by lying them down
  • Keep them warm by putting a cover on the patient
  • Compression with ice should be done at the site of the fracture and other injuries
  • The patient should not be moved unless there is a risk of additional injury at that place
  • If the fracture causes an open wound and bleeding is present, use a cloth to cover the wound and try to stop the bleeding
  • Check for other possible wounds without moving the patient
  • Check for the signs of loss of blood circulation in the hands and legs
  • Immobilize the fracture and
    • Prevent movements of the joints near the fracture by using broad bandages
    • Put the bandages under the natural spaces of the body to support the affected limb
    • Put bandages around the wound but be careful that the bandages are not too tight or lose
  • If you do not know if it is a fracture, dislocation, or a sprain, always treat the patient considering it a fracture until professionals arrive

4 things you should not do to a patient with a fracture

  • Never attempt to push the bone back into the body in case of an open wound
  • Never try to realign a dislocation because it may cause more damage to the patient
  • Never move the patient to different locations unnecessarily
  • Never give the patient food or water by mouth (it may delay the administration of general anesthesia when emergency surgery is necessary)

What is a bone fracture?

A bone fracture is cracking or breaking of the bone, which can be of two types.

  1. Partial fracture: Where a small part of the bone is broken.
  2. Complete fracture: Where the bone is broken into two or more pieces either crosswise or lengthwise.

A fractured bone or bone fracture happens when a force is applied to a bone that is greater than the bone's ability to withstand. This disrupts the bone's structure and strength, resulting in discomfort, loss of function, and, in certain cases, bleeding and damage to the tissue around the location.

A bone fracture may take four to eight weeks to heal depending on:

  • The site of fracture
  • The type of fracture
  • Age and health of the patient

There are various types of bone fractures, but the initial first aid depends on the following types of bone fracture:

  • Closed fractures: Also called simple fractures. The bone breaks, but it does not move from its original place. The skin is intact in this type of fracture.
  • Open fractures: Also called compound fractures. The bone that is broken moves from its original place and penetrates out tearing up the skin. This leads to excessive bleeding, and there is a high risk of getting infected.

What are the symptoms of a fracture?

The symptoms of a fracture may depend on the type of bone that is fractured and the severity of the fracture.

However, most fractures present with some common symptoms, such as:

  • Discomfort or severe pain at or around the location of the injury
  • Difficulty or highly impossible to have normal movements without pain
  • Loss of power and functionality of the injured bone or joint
  • Deformity or abnormal mobility at the fractured site
  • Presence of bruising or discoloration on the skin at the injured site
  • Soreness
  • Excessive swelling
  • The bone that is broken may penetrate out tearing up the skin, causing severe bleeding (called open wound)


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Medically Reviewed on 12/30/2021
Image Source: iStock Images

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Fractures (Broken Bones). https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/fractures-broken-bones/

Laguipo ABB. Broken Bone First Aid. News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Broken-Bone-First-Aid.aspx