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Treating a broken shoulder blade

August 13th, 2014 | Posted by corinne grace in Skeletal Injuries - (Comments Off on Treating a broken shoulder blade)

A shoulder blade is a flat, large triangular-shaped bone at the rear part of the shoulder, and is also known as the scapula. The shoulder blade is positioned over the second up to the the seventh rib on each side of the back, and it is a component of the pectoral girdle that helps connect the arm to the chest area. It connects the humerus which is the arm bone, with the clavicle, known as collar bone. The scapula has a large area for muscle attachment. There are 18 muscles that are attached to the scapula; they are attached either by insertion or by origin points. The injuries to these areas are in the form of pulled muscles, due to a large number of muscles that are attached to it. If a scapula is injured or broken it is a severe sign of trauma.

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A broken shoulder blade can be caused by direct pain that involves a large amount of force or violence. There are common causes of a broken shoulder blade:

  • Vehicular accidents
  • Falling from a tree or anywhere that hits your shoulders
  • Falling onto an outstretched arm
  • A direct pain from a baseball bat or hammer or anything hard that hits your shoulders

Symptoms of a broken shoulder blade

  • There is swelling, pain and bruising over the shoulder blade
  • There is pain in moving the arm
  • Difficulty in lifting the arm
  • There is pain with each breath caused by the movement of the chest wall with each breath, and this movement makes the shoulder blade to move and causes pain
  • The shoulders looks flattened and deformed
Shoulder blade

A broken shoulder blade can be caused by direct pain that involves a large amount of force or violence.

Treatment of broken shoulder blade

  • First thing to do is to control the bleeding. If there is bleeding, apply steady and direct pressure with a clean cloth or bandage for 15 minutes. If the blood seeps through the cloth, put another cloth over the first.
  • Make a sling to support the affected arm, put a triangular bandage beneath it and over the unaffected shoulder, and then tie it adjacent to the neck.
  • Treat the symptoms by applying ice to the injury to relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Provide the individual with over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen (Tylenol) for relieving pain.

Prevention

Aside from the first aid measures that you can perform, there are ways to prevent the injury from occurring in the first place.

Broken shoulder blades can be prevented by avoiding activities like:

  • Activities with dangers in causing a fall like rock climbing, hand-gliding, or skydiving
  • Contact sports like football, baseball, and basketball
  • Driving a vehicle without seatbelts

A physical therapy for a broken shoulder blade is very important because it helps regain the mobility of the joints, and preventing condition like “frozen shoulder” from happening. It also helps strengthen the shoulder and preventing future injuries and will restore proper mobility in the areas of the arm.

First Aid for Fractured Hips

February 13th, 2014 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Skeletal Injuries - (Comments Off on First Aid for Fractured Hips)

Hips contain socket and ball joint that allow great rotation which makes it possible for the legs to bend and rotate. The hips act as the most used body parts and any impact can result to a break also referred as fracture. This is a serious condition that requires surgery for treatment. Here are some tips for effective first aid for fractured hips.

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Best Practices for Fractured Hips First Aid

Supporting victim with fractured hips

Supporting victim with fractured hips

Hip fractures are more common to old people because of the weak bones as a result if aging. However, this is not to mean that young people to do not suffer from this problem. The first thing you need to do is to call for emergency when it occurs. You can call 911 or any other emergency service provider you know. Never try to move the patient as this may make the condition worse. As you make the call, let the operator understand what happened and describe the condition of the patient. In most cases, an effective operator will give you instructions. Ensure you follow all the instructions carefully and never deviate. Let the patient feel comfortable and if it is possible, place something soft such as a pillow or cushion under the head. One of the mistakes, you should avoid is to give drinks or food. Most of the victims of fractured hips will look pale and weak but giving them food or drink will make the surgery process complicated.

If you are a certified first aid provider, you may move further by immobilizing the limbs. You do this to the legs by use of thick layers of soft materials, for example, towels and hold them using heavy objects. Pad the victim from above the hips as you go down the knee. It is important to check for any symptoms of shock for the victim. This is a fatal and the earlier treatment increases chances of recovery and survival. Some of the signs that can show you that the patient is in shock include weak pulse, weak breathing, vomiting and excessive sweating. Help the victim remove any tight clothing, keep the patient warm and try to calm him or her down. To ensure that he remains conscious, provide a lot of fresh air and keep talking to him.

Don’ts for Hip Fracture First Aid

Do not try to offer first aid for fractured hips if you are not trained because this may make the condition more complex. Ensure that there is no movement as the patient should remain calm until the emergency help arrives.

Elbow dislocation

February 7th, 2014 | Posted by corinne grace in Skeletal Injuries - (Comments Off on Elbow dislocation)

Elbow dislocation occurs once the surfaces of the joint are separated and can be partial or complete. A complete dislocation takes place if the surfaces of the joints are separated completely. As for the partial dislocation, the surfaces of the joints are only separated incompletely.

Causes of elbow dislocation

Dislocations of the elbow are not quite common and they typically take place once an individual falls with the hands outstretched. The moment the hand strikes a hard surface, the force is sent directly to the elbow and there is usually a turning motion from this force that can rotate or drive the elbow out from its socket. This injury can also occur during vehicular accidents if the individual reaches forward to suppress the impact.

In a simple elbow dislocation, no major bone injury is incurred while a complex elbow dislocation involves severe ligament and bone injuries. In worst cases, the nerves and blood vessels throughout the elbow can be affected. In such cases, there is a possibility that the arm will be removed. Individuals who inherently have laxness in their ligaments are at risk for dislocation.

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Signs and symptoms of a dislocated elbow

If there is complete dislocation of the elbow, it is very painful and the affected arm has an odd twist at the area of the elbow. As for a partial dislocation, it is difficult to detect and usually occurs right after an accident. Due to the partial dislocation, the bones have the possibility to relocate in a spontaneous manner while the joint appears normal. In some cases, pain and bruising is present either inside or exterior the elbow.

How an elbow dislocation is diagnosed

Once a doctor is consulted, the affected arm is examined for swelling, tenderness an

d deformity. The skin will be assessed and the circulation in the arm while the pulses at the wrist are checked. In case an artery is damaged, the hand is cool to the touch or exudes a purple or white hue.

X-ray is required to determine if the bones are damaged and can define the direction of the dislocation. This diagnostic exam can confirm if the elbow is dislocated. A CT scan is performed if the damage is difficult to identify on the X-ray.

How elbow dislocations are treated

elbow dislocation

A dislocated elbow can cause pain.

Dislocations of the elbow must be considered as an emergency. The main

objective of immediate care for an elbow dislocation is to restore the elbow to its proper alignment while the long-term objective is to restore functionality to the affected arm.

The normal alignment of the elbow is restored in an emergency room in

any hospital. Prior to the procedure which is called reduction maneuver, pain medications and sedatives are administered. The procedure is performed in a slow and gentle manner.

For minor elbow dislocations, it can be treated by immobilizing the elbow

using a sling or splint for 2-3 weeks and followed with motion exercises. Take note that if the elbow is not exercised for an extended period, it can affect its range of motion. Always remember that physical therapy is needed during the recovery period.

When the Bones are Dislocated, It is Time to Get MedicatedCarmel was in Spain for an official business trip when she dislocated her right thumb. She was alone in her hotel room when decided to take a bubble bath after a full day of meetings and sightseeing.  Her foot was already inside when she realized that she forgot her iPod so she quickly rushed to get it from her luggage. Her foot wet the marble floor or her bathroom but she didn’t mind it much. On her way back to the tub, she slipped and tried to save herself by landing on her right hand. This quickly turned into one of her most painful experiences. Although Carmel was relatively thin, the body weight caused her thumb to bend the wrong way, thus causing its dislocation.

When the bone has been forcibly moved from its normal position at the joint, a dislocation occurs. When the two ends of bones are displaced from their normal positions, the bones become dis or “apart” or location or “a place of settlement or activity,” hence there is a dislocation. A dislocated bone may lead to impairment of ligaments, nerves and blood vessels.

Dislocation usually results from falls, car accidents or collision during contact. The most common dislocation sites are the shoulders and elbows for adults and children, respectively. The larger joints of the body are more prone to dislocation. Nonetheless, the hand’s position makes the thumb susceptible to dislocation when it is bent the wrong way. Due to the dislocation, there will be a momentary dislocation and disable the action of the joint. Swelling and severe pain are some of the symptoms of dislocation.

If treated early, most dislocations will not lead to permanent damage. Therefore, medical attention must be called for immediately.  The victim should not be moved, especially if neck injury is suspected. Only move the victim if there is danger in the immediate surroundings. More so, dislocated bones should not be pushed back to its joint. Moving the bone may result to damaging the joint and its adjacent muscles, ligaments, nerves or blood vessels. Small nerve and blood vessels may be trapped and result to numb digits. Immobilize the injured area.

If one is trained to do so, sling and/ or splint the injury in its original location. Boards, rolled newspaper and numerous other materials may be used as splints. To minimize discomfort, splints may be padded. Slings may be used for arm or shoulder injuries. To reduce swelling and assist in relieving pain, apply ice

on the affected joint. This will control internal bleeding and accumulation of fluids in and surrounding area of the affected joint. Ice must not be directly applied to the skin and should be wrapped in a towel or other pieces of clothing. Check for breathing if injury is serious. If no breathing is observed, commence CPR. Raise the feet one foot. To reduce body heat loss, cover the patient with a blanket.

In most medical emergencies, first aid training and CPR may be applied. Especially athletes and those who work with them should be knowledgeable of proper treatment. workplace approved programs offer first aid training and CPR courses which are offered to the community.

A chest injury refers to an injury that causes damage any structure in the chest. Minor forms of injuries to the chest include small injuries to the skin such as bruises, while severe forms of injuries to the chest may include damage to the internal organs such as the heart or the lungs. Injuries to the soft tissue of the chest may include lacerations, stab wounds, puncture wounds and abrasions.

A person with a chest injury may have bruising along with chest pain, chest swelling and chest wall tenderness.

Treatment for chest injury often depends on how severe the damage to the chest is. General treatment options may include cold compresses, rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication or narcotic pain medication for pain. Often rib fractures require narcotic pain medication for short-term use

Chest Injuries

Chest Injuries

only. Your doctor may also advise deep breathing exercises to reduce the risk of incurring pneumonia and atelectasis.

Important Disclaimer: this post on chest injuries, signs, symptoms, causes and treatment is for learning purposes only. When in doubt contact a medical professional or learn more about recognizing and managing these emergencies by enrolling in first aid and CPR courses through St Mark James.

Causes

Causes of chest injury may include the following:

  • Motor vehicle or car accidents
  • Altercations
  • Falls
  • Sports injuries – especially contact sports injuries
  • Occupational injuries
  • Industrial injuries
  • Gunshot wounds – puncture wounds
  • Stab or knife wounds – puncture wounds

Types of chest injuries include:

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of chest injury may include:

  • Mild chest pain
  • Chest pain while breathing
  • Chest pain while coughing
  • Worsening pain with movement
  • Sharp chest pain
  • Tenderness of the chest – breast tenderness or tenderness of the chest wall
  • Chest contusions – bruising to the chest wall
  • Mild breathing difficulties
  • Swelling of the chest wall
  • Back pain

Severe chest injury may cause the following symptoms:

  • Fainting
  • Deformed chest
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing – severe – use of accessory muscles to support breathing
  • Nasal flaring
  • Rib retractions

Treatment

General treatment for chest injury includes cold compresses, rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication for pain and deep breathing exercises. Many casualties, however, find it difficult to breathe deeply due to the increasing pain while breathing. It is important to note that deep breathing is very important in case you have a chest injury as it reduces the risk of pneumonia and atelectasis. Pain medication can be taken by these patients who are no able to breathe deeply due to the pain.

Severe chest injuries may occur due to rib fractures or damage to the vital internal organs such as the heart and the lungs. Treatment for severe chest injuries may include oxygen therapy and surgical repair of damaged tissues of the chest.

Treatment options for chest injury may include:

  • Cold compresses – apply every 2-3 hours for 20 minutes
  • Rest
  • Deep breathing
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication for pain
  • Narcotic pain medication for short term use only
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Surgery to repair damaged tissues in the chest

Additional treatment measures include:

  • Stop smoking and avoid passive smoking
  • Perform deep breathing exercises for every 4 hours
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects
  • Take medication as directed by your health car provider and avoid skipping doses

Learn More

To learn more about minor and severe emergencies involving chest pain and injuries sign up for first aid and CPR training courses through workplace approved.

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Know More About Crush Injury

February 25th, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Skeletal Injuries - (0 Comments)

Crush injuries result when certain parts of the body are subjected to a high

Crush Injury

Crush Injury First Aid

degree of pressure or force, usually when the body is squeezed between two immobile or heavy objects. Damaged caused by injuries include bleeding, bruising, fracture, laceration, secondary infection, nerve injury, wounds, and/or compartment syndrome (increased pressure in a leg or arm leading to severe nerve, muscle, tissue or blood vessel damage).

Crush injuries result from many different situations that include occupational injuries, motor vehicle accidents, mining accidents and other industrial accidents. For crush injury syndrome to occur, it must involve a large area, such as the entire arm or thigh, and blood circulation towards the area has been obstructed. Moreover, the force or pressure applied must be present for some time before crush injury syndrome can occur. However, not all crush injuries actually progress into crush injury syndrome.

First aid for crush injuries

Initiate basic first aid procedures (register for training here). Quickly survey the scene and look for possible dangers. Ensure your personal safety and that of the casualty. Call 911 or your local services and ask for help.

Assess the condition of the victim. If it safe to remove the crushing force, do so. Keep the victim comfortable and continuously monitor condition. In the past, tourniquet was frequently used for crush injuries but it is not recommended. The victim may appear conscious and alert; however their condition can deteriorate quickly, so be sure to monitor victim closely while waiting for emergency services to arrive.

Crush Injury Syndrome

In case of a crush injury and pressure is not released immediately, such as when the body part is trapped, the severed body part may progress into crush injury syndrome.

Crush injury syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition. In this condition, toxins produced by the body are trapped by the compressive item. Removing the pressure can cause the sudden release of toxins into the system potentially overwhelming the kidneys – the organs mainly responsible for clearing body toxins. Crush injury syndrome may develop within one hour after a severe crush injury, but normally takes around 4 hours.

In addition, releasing the compressing pressure or force can cause fluid to leak into the injured area, resulting in shock. If not properly treated, both crush injury syndrome and shock can lead to fatal consequences. Therefore, it is recommended that experts remove the compressive item. Ideally, the casualty is given fluids and medications by rescue services before removing the compressing force.

Preventing Crush Injury Syndrome

Crush injury syndrome can actually be prevented if persons suffering from crushing injuries are provided with proper first aid immediately. Here are two important things to remember when caring for victims of crush injury:

  • If the body part of the victim has been trapped for LESS THAN 10 MINUTES and you can safely remove the compressive object, carefully remove the object and provide first aid for injuries sustained.
  • If the body part of the victim has been trapped for LONGER THAN 10 MINUTES, call for emergency services and explain the situation. DO NOT attempt to release the pressure or remove the object. Keep the victim warm and comfortable. Provide reassurance while waiting for rescue services.

Learn More

To learn more about recognizing and helping victims of crush injuries enrol in workplace approved first aid training (more information).

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First Aid for Fractures

December 17th, 2012 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Skeletal Injuries - (0 Comments)

A fracture refers to a crack or a break in a bone. When a person is fractured, he will first hear a snap and then experience an acute pain. With care and effort you can provide first aid to a person who has undergone a fracture. A fracture can usually be seen as an open wound or a protruding bone in most cases.

Signs and Symptoms

If a fracture results in a lot of pain and trauma, call 911 or a local emergency number immediately. You will know if a person is fractured if:

  • The patient explains that he or she heard an audible snap during the accident
  • The patient may tell you that he or she is feeling a rubbing in the bones also called crepitus
  • There is a swelling in the affected area
  • The person is bleeding heavily
  • The affected joint or limb seem deformed
  • Loss of strength
  • A gentle press causes sharp pain
  • The bone is piercing through the skin
  • The extremities of the injured leg or arm, such as fingers or toes appear bluish
  • The neck, head or back seems deformed if a bone is broken in these areas
  • A bone is broken in the pelvis, hip or upper leg
  • Twitching
  • Immobility or the person becomes unresponsive. There is no breathing or movement.

First Aid

The first thing you need to make sure is that you should know what you are about to treat. Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of fractures mentioned above before you begin first aid.

  • If the person is bleeding heavily and you suspect a broken bone in the arm, leg, hip, pelvis or neck, make sure you take care of it before you call for help. If you are not alone, it is better if you make someone else call
    Folded Splint

    The picture above shows a splint that is commonly found in first aid kits. Splints are used to help immobilize a injury.

    instead.

  • Use a sterile piece of fabric to apply pressure on the wound to stop it from bleeding. If there is no bleeding or spurting of blood, do not firmly press the injured area with a cloth as it would cause more damage to the affected area.
  • Do not try to treat the area if a bone is protruding out by trying to realign the bone. If you have been trained to secure such a fracture, in case professional help is not available, secure the area below and above the affected site. You can also pad the splint to make the person feel a bit more comfortable.
  • Do not apply ice directly on the wound, instead wrap it around a towel or a sterile cloth and apply pressure with it on the affected area to prevent bleeding.
  • Do not try to touch or poke the wound to over-investigate the problem. If the affected area is swollen or discolored, it is obviously fractured. Therefore, leave it to a professional to further investigate and treat the wound.
  • Do not wash the wound.
  • If a person is unconscious or breathless, make the person lie down with his head lower than the chest. Raise the legs upwards, if possible.

First Aid Video on Fractures