This emergency occurs when a muscle, bone or joint moves in a direction that it is not supposed to go. This movement can lead to broken bones, sprains, fractures and other injuries.
A fracture is a complete break, a chip or a crack in the bone. An open fracture involves an open wound, and is when a bone end tears through the skin. An open fracture is more dangerous and severe. However, a closed fracture is more common.
A dislocation is the movement of a bone at a joint from its normal position. When the bone is moved out of place, the joint no longer functions. Usually, dislocations happen at the shoulder, elbow, wrist, jaw and hip.
A sprain is the tearing of the ligaments at a joint. Sprains mostly occur at the ankle, knee, wrist and fingers. A strain is the stretching and tearing of a muscle. They usually occur in the neck, back, thigh, or the back of the lower leg.
Use RICE method when dealing with a sprain or strain:
Do not move or straighten the injury.
Try to stabilize the person in the position he/she was found. Splint or sling the injured part only and use caution if moving the person.
Indirectly cool the part using ice for up to 20 minutes.
Only elevate the part if it does not cause more pain.