Information about Broken Bones and Fractures from UNI

Summertime is for playing and recreating, and unfortunately, sometimes those things can go wrong.  If you suspect someone has fractured one of their bones, follow the following steps to treat them most effectively and prevent any additional damage.


Be sure to dial 911 if:

  • The person is unresponsive, isn’t breathing or isn’t moving. Begin CPR if there’s no breathing or heartbeat.
  • There is heavy bleeding.
  • Even gentle pressure or movement causes pain.
  • The limb or joint appears deformed.
  • The bone has pierced the skin.
  • The extremity of the injured arm or leg, such as a toe or finger, is numb or bluish at the tip.
  • You suspect bones are broken in the neck, head or back.

If the wound does not meet these guidelines, you can bring the person to one of our six UNI Urgent Care locations.  Don’t move the person except if necessary to avoid further injury. Take these actions immediately before getting medical help:

  • Stop any bleeding. Apply pressure to the wound with a sterile bandage, a clean cloth or a clean piece of clothing.
  • Immobilize the injured area. Don’t try to realign the bones or push a bone that’s sticking out back in. If you’ve been trained in how to splint and professional help isn’t readily available, apply a splint to the area above and below the fracture sites. Padding the splints can help reduce discomfort.
  • Apply ice packs to limit swelling and help relieve pain.  Don’t apply ice directly to the skin. Wrap the ice in a towel, piece of cloth or some other material.
  • Treat for shock. If the person feels faint or is breathing in short, rapid breaths, lay the person down with the head slightly lower than the trunk and, if possible, elevate the legs.

Call UNI Urgent Care or visit any of our six locations if you need assistance with a bone fracture.

This information is not a substitute for medical advice nor is it intended as such. If you have questions about your health please contact our offices, or 911 in case of an emergency.

Information from The Mayo Clinic was used in this post.