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Home :: First Aid

Fractures of the upper limb


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Anaphylactic Shock
Animal Bites
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Fracture around the Elbow
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Fracture of the Upper Arm
Fracture of the Upper Limb
Heart Attack
Heat Exhaustion
Insect Stings
Open Fracture
Snake Bites

The term 'upper limb' includes not only the arm but also the shoulder and the collarbone. If the casualty can walk without too much distress then it may be unnecessary to call an ambulance, although hospital treatment is essential.

Fracture of the collarbone

The collarbone is situated at the base of the neck and supplies the arm's support between the breastbone and the shoulder blade. Fractures are usually a result of indirect force, such as an outstretched hand during a fall transmitting the force up to the collarbone.

The casualty will undoubtedly experience pain at the injury site, and will frequently attempt to relieve this by tilting the head to one side. If a fractured collar-bone is suspected:

1. Immobilize the arm on the injured side by sitting the casualty down and placing the arm on the affected side across the chest, with the fingertips resting lightly on the opposite shoulder. Ask the casualty to support the elbow of the arm with his or her hand.

2. Place some padding between the injured limb and the casualty's chest. Support the arm in this position in an elevation sling across the shoulder.

3. Give the arm further support if possible by adding another Broad fold bandage around the chest.

4 Take the casualty to hospital.

Dislocation of the shoulder

Dislocation of the shoulder is most commonly caused by a fall. In dislocation, the ball-type shoulder joint is wrenched out of its socket, causing extreme pain, especially upon movement. The first abider’s main aim is to reduce the pain by immobilizing the joint until the casualty can be taken to hospital- do not attempt to relocate the joint. Seat the casualty then:

1. Gently position the affected arm across the chest and apply an arm sling.

2. Slip some padding behind the sling to give further support on the affected side. Check that the sling is not too tight by feeling for the pulse or numbness in the fingers.

3. Arrange for the casualty to be taken to hospital