Fractures or Dislocations Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on January 26, 2020

Call 911 if:

  • The person is seriously injured.
  • You suspect injury to the person's head, neck, or back.
  • Bone is sticking out of the skin.
  • Bleeding doesn't stop after several minutes of firm pressure.
  • Blood spurts from the wound.
  • Experience loss of feeling at the injured site
  • Experience loss of warmth beyond the injured area.

1. Stop Bleeding, if Necessary

  • Apply firm pressure to wound with clean cloth until bleeding stops.
  • If bone is pushing through skin, do not touch it or try to put it back in place.

2. Splint the Area, if Possible

The purpose of the splint is to hold still and protect a wounded body part from further damage.

  • Cut away clothing if it cannot be removed without moving the injured body part.
  • Gently tape the dislocated area or fracture to a rolled-up newspaper, ruler, stick, or a rolled-up piece of clothing with first aid tape. In general, try to include the joint above and below the injury in the splint. As much as possible, avoid moving the injured limb, and never force it or try to twist it back into place.

3. Reduce Swelling and Prevent Injury

  • Apply an ice pack wrapped in cloth or a cold compress.
  • Elevate the injured area if possible.

4. Manage Pain and Inflammation

5. Get Medical Help As Soon as Possible

6. Follow Up

  • The doctor will X-ray the dislocation or fracture and may realign and set it.
  • The doctor may apply a splint or cast, or surgery may be required.
WebMD Medical Reference



KidsHealth: "Broken Bones Instruction Sheet" and "Broken Bones."

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Broken Arm" and "Stress Fractures of the Foot and Ankle."

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin: "Dislocations."

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