With bones, we have only 1 basic thing that can happen: fractures. Fractures can be either simple (broken or cracked – but still under the skin) – or compound (an obvious break; usually showing through the skin). Either way, we need to make certain that the patient is comfortable, and that we stabilize the fracture and prevent movement of the injured area; thus, preventing further damage or harm to the patient.

How we achieve this goal, is to apply a splint.

If the victim complains about extreme pain at a certain area you should check for a fracture: samsplintmd

  • Ask if the victim heard or felt a bone snap
  • Check if the victim is able to move the inflicted body part
  • Check for deformities
  • Check for swelling
  • Check for discoloration of the skin


If bone is sticking out of the skin then you are dealing with a compound fracture. Compound fractures are very serious injuries that may cause serious bleeding.

  • Do not apply too much pressure to stop the bleeding
  • Cover the wound with a sterile pad or cloth if available
  • Do not push the bone back or try to re-align the fracture. Instead apply a splint to prevent further injury
  • Do not move the victim but wait for professional assistance. Keep the victim warm and comfort him/her
  • Apply a Splint such as a SAM Splint

Sling & SwatheFind a rigid straight object that is longer than the bone and joint that you are going to support. You are going to be using this as the splint. Cover any broken skin with a sterile cloth. Pad the splint with softer materials such as cloth. Tie the splint to the injured limb using tape or rope. We recommend Speedy Straps (because they’re great for not only splints but also have many other uses – not just for first aid). Make sure the splint is tight but not so tight that it cuts of blood circulation of the victim. Make sure the splint is applied in a way that prevents the limb from further movement or strain. If available, place an ice bag over the splinted break area. Do not place it directly on the skin or wound but cover it with cloth.


Want to learn more? Get Trained! Take a course:

> American Red Cross: Standard First Aid
> Wilderness First Aid (WFA)

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