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About  skeletal injury                                    About  skeletal injury                              About  skeletal injuryAbout  skeletal injury                                    About  skeletal injury                              About  skeletal injury
skeletal injury


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.
strain _________ stretching or tearing of a muscle
complication of skeletal injury:
life-threatening complications
. 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
local complications
. chronic infection and permanent disability.

When a 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 the bone.

Fractures are generally classified as:

Open - where there is a wound leading to the fracture site or the bone is protruding from the skin.

Closed - where the bone has fractured but has no obvious external wound.

Complicated - which may involve damage to associated vital organs and major blood vessels as a result of the fracture.


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.

  • Direct force; where force is applied sufficiently to cause the bone to fracture at the point of impact.
  • Indirect force; where force or kinetic energy, applied to a large, strong bone, is transmitted up the limb, causing the weakest bones to fracture.
  • Spontaneous or 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
. swelling
. skin discoloration-red, then blue
. deformity
. abnormal movement
pain at the site
associated organ damage
rapid, weak pulse
pale, cool, clammy skin

First Aid:
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.

Although 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 may suffice.

There are 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’.














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