To The ER Or Not? Signs Of Broken Bones And Myths That Might Prevent You From Going When Needed
Around 6 million Americans each year break bones due to an accident. Sometimes, the fracture is obvious and the definite course of action is to proceed to a nearby emergency care facility. However, it can also sometimes be difficult to know if a fracture has occurred and whether or not a visit to a critical care provider is necessary. That is why it is good to know some of the telltale signs of bone fractures and some myths related to bone fractures; that way, you are able to make an informed decision about going to the emergency room or not:
Signs that you may have broken a bone
Fractures are almost always quite painful, so the presence of severe pain is a good first clue that an injury involves a possible broken bone. However, it is important to keep in mind that pain alone isn't enough to indicate whether a bone is broken; torn ligaments and tendons, as well as other soft tissue injuries, can cause pain. Pain caused by a broken bone is usually centered around a narrow area, and even a light touch in this sensitive area can be highly painful.
Tissue swelling, or inflammation, occurs due to the rupture of capillaries as well as soft tissues that are cut by the sharp, jagged ends of broken bones. All of these occurrences result in the release of fluid into the area where the suspected break occurred. Swelling that occurs in areas away from a joint, such as mid-calf or along the middle of the forearm, is a surer sign of a break as opposed to joint-based swelling; in fact, joint swelling is just as likely to occur as a result of soft tissue injury. However, since you cannot be certain of the cause of severe swelling, medical attention should be sought to determine the origin.
The sensation of two rough objects rubbing together inside your body is known as crepitus. Bone ends rubbing against bone ends cause this skin-crawling feeling, and it is a clear sign of fracture in most instances. If you feel this sensation, then you should strongly suspect you have broken a bone and need urgent medical attention.
Another obvious sign of fracture is deformity in a limb. This deformity includes everything from the presence of slight deviations from a straight line along a limb to radical bends and penetration of the skin by bone ends. However, keep in mind that in the case of greenstick fractures, where the break doesn't completely sever the bone in two, deformity may be slight or even non-existent.
Myths about broken bones
Unfortunately, there are a couple of myths about broken bones that are difficult to dispel, and they can influence a person to avoid going to an emergency care facility when it is needed. Here are these falsehoods:
Broken bones always cause severe bruising
While bruising is a common symptom of an underlying broken bone, some fractures don't cause significant bruising; in addition, bruises may not appear for several hours after the break occurs. Don't depend on bruising to appear as a telltale symptom of a fracture, or you may injure yourself further while waiting.
If you can move it, it isn't broken
Another persistent myth about broken bones is a belief that an ability to move the affected area is a sign a bone isn't broken. However, broken bones don't always cause immobility of the afflicted area. In particular, bones that are only partially broken are often still capable of supporting movement. This can be particularly dangerous if the unknown broken bone is doing deep-seated tissue damage inside the limb, such as severing arteries or veins.
If you think you may have broken a bone, go to an ER or urgent care center like Premier Urgent Care Centers of California, Inc. for treatment.