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How to Treat a Broken Arm

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Broken arms are painful, yet are rarely fatal injuries. In order to treat a broken arm injury, learn how to detect it and try to perform first aid accordingly. To learn via effective “hands on” training enrol in a workplace approved first aid training program.

Symptoms

  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Tingling sensation or numbness
  • Deformity of the arm
  • Inability to move the arm

Treatment

  1. Always consider safety first. Make sure the area is safe for you to enter as most arm injuries occur during car accidents and assaults. While injuries due to falls or other similar forms of trauma, may not threaten your safety, it is always best to observe the location of the injured casualty, before you can treat him
  2. Wear safety equipment such as masks, gloves and goggles if necessary. Take your first aid equipment with you to treat the casualty.
    First Aid - Triangle Bandage

    Triangle bandages, found in almost any basic first aid kit, can be made into effective splints to help immobilize broken arms.

  3. If there is any bleeding, try to control it by applying pressure on the wounds using a sterile bandage or clean piece of cloth.
  4. Look for wounds on the person’s body and rinse them thoroughly if necessary (for example, if they have been contaminated with dirt, foreign objects or debris).
  5. Do NOT move the victim if his neck, back or head is injured.
  6. Cover bruises and wounds with sterile dressing.
  7. You may have to splint the arm yourself, if the ambulance has not arrived yet. Immobilize the joints: shoulder, elbow and wrist and above and below the affected region.
  8. Make sure you properly secure the arm and prevent movement. However, do not wrap it too tight as it may discourage circulation.
  9. In order to alleviate swelling, apply ice packs or ice wrapped in towels on the affected region for 15 minutes.
  10. If the casualty is unconscious due to collapse or severity of the accident, begin CPR immediately.

Caution

  • Do NOT move the victim if his neck, back or head is injured, unless highly necessary for the sake of security and preventing further damage from taking place.
  • Do NOT try to extend or straighten the affected arm or change its position. Only do it if the arm is paralyzed or appears cold, numb or blue.
  • While splinting the affected arm, prepare a sling to support the weight of the arm.

When to call 911

  • If the neck, head or back is injured.
  • If the leg is injured above the knee.
  • If the hip or pelvis are broken.

 Additional Training for Broken Arms

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