A fracture is a crack or break in a bone. A fracture usually occurs when force exerted against a bone is stronger than the bone can structurally withstand.

A fracture can be defined as a broken, cracked or bent (greenstick) bone. These can then be classes as a:

  • Closed fracture: The bone has not pierced the skin
  • Open fracture: The bone juts out through the skin
  • Complicated fracture: The bone has or is damaging an underlying organ, such as a fractured rib punctures a lung.


  • Deformity
  • Pain
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Unnatural movement
  • Crepitus (croken ends grinding together when moved)
  • Loss of function/power

Treatment of all fractures

  • Call 000 for an ambulance
  • A fracture may be an obvious injury, but DO NOT FORGET D.R.S.A.B.C.D. and the secondary survey
  • For lower jaw fractures allow the casualty to support their jaw in a position that is comfortable
  • DO NOT bandage the casualty’s jaw
  • DO NOT apply direct pressure to any protruding bone
  • Pad around the protruding bone
  • DO NOT elevate the limb
  • Allow the casualty to support the injured limb in a position of comfort
  • Always immobilise above and below the fracture when splinting  

Triangular Bandages / Slings

The purpose of splints and slings is to prevent movement of the fractured bone by immobilising the limb, restricting the movement in the joint above and below the fracture site and reducing the amount of bleeding and further injury.