Injuries to the Lower Body
A broken bone in the lower body is a serious injury that requires hospital treatment. The pelvis is a large bone and is generally very difficult to break. Severe impact such as a fall from a height or a car accident are the most common cause in young, fit adults. In the elderly a broken pelvis (or hip) happens more often and can be caused by a relatively minor impact. In healthy adults it takes a major impact to break the thigh bone and there are likely to be other injuries.
The pelvis protects the urinary system and the biggest danger is that sharp bone ends may burst the bladder, creating the possibility of infection. Internal bleeding is another likelihood with a fractured hip, as the impact required to break the bone is likely to have caused other damage.
Signs and symptoms of a broken pelvis
As the pelvis can also be broken at the back, it is easy to mistake a pelvic fracture for a spinal injury. If in doubt, treat for a broken spine.
First Aid Treatment
Fractures of the upper leg
The key risk with fractures of the femur (thigh bone) in the upper leg is shock. The thigh bone protects the main artery in the leg, the femoral artery, and if broken may pierce it, causing severe internal bleeding.
A person with a broken thigh bone will require transportation by ambulance. The general treatment is therefore nothing more than to hold the injured part still and treat the casualty for shock. Do not bandage the leg if help is on its way as this is likely to cause more pain and potentially cause further damage.
Support the leg above and below the site of the fracture if possible, placing padding around the broken leg to further help to reduce movement of the injured limb.
If you have been trained in the use of traction then you may apply this gently to the leg to help to reduce pain and circulatory damage.
The injured person may benefit from immobilising the broken leg by using the good leg as a splint, particularly if there is a wait before medical help arrives.
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