When a Bone Breaks

There are four types of broken bones, or fractures. A simple fracture occurs when the bone breaks cleanly into two pieces, and the skin remains intact. A compound fracture involves a break that also pierces the skin. A comminuted fracture has multiple breaks in one bone that are either simple or compound. A green stick fracture doesn't go all the way through the bone. Regardless of the type of break, the National Safety Council says a limb fracture should be treated as follows:

  • Drive the person to an emergency room as soon as possible.

  • Keep the injured area immobile by applying a splint, elastic bandage or sling to prevent further injury and excessive pain.

  • While waiting for medical treatment, keep the person warm and comfortable. Be calm and assure the person that help is on the way.