On average, each year in the U.S. six million people will break a bone. Do you know what to do if it happens to you or someone around you? Here are some simple steps to follow.

  1. Does it seem like the fracture is in the person’s spine, skull, or neck? If so, avoid moving them unless it’s absolutely necessary. Moving them could cause further damage. Call 911 for emergency help and hang tight until the emergency personnel arrive and can take them to the nearest emergency room. Keep reading for what to do if the fracture IS NOT in the person’s spine, skull, or neck.
  2. Unless the wound is pretty grisly, e.g. an unusual angle in a limb or bone protruding, it can be hard to tell whether or not the injury in question is actually a fracture. If there is even a small chance the injury is a fracture, don’t avoid going for medical help. Any kind of fracture demands medical care to ensure it heals properly, or you could have infections or other costly complications. Your local urgent care usually takes insurance and tends to be more affordable and speedy than a hospital visit.
  3. Figure out your local urgent care locations and quickly organize a safe way for the hurt person to get there. Four out of five urgent care locations do provide fracture care, so chances are good that the one you choose can entirely take care of the injury on the premises, or at least refer you to a nearby clinic that can.
  4. While waiting to get the hurt person to a doctor, keep them calm to avoid shock, make sure any bleeding wound has pressure applied to it with a clean cloth to keep it under control, and apply wrapped ice or a cold compress to the affected area for no more than ten minutes at a time. It also helps to keep the hurt limb or appendage immobilized to avoid more damage. Use or make a sling or splint if needed.

Finally, applicable advice here and for any emergency situation: Always know the nearest hospital and urgent care locations in your area. You can web search for them, of course, but you never know if that won’t be an option in an emergency situation. Knowledge is your key to keeping calm and collected in an emergency.