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A sudden fall from a height or a collision with a moving object, like a vehicle, can cause a fracture of the bone. Fractures are of three kinds: (i) green-where a fissure develops in the bone without its pieces being separated from each other; (ii) simple-where the bone breaks into two; and (iii) compound-where the scene of the fracture is a mass of broken pieces of bone.

Green fractures are easy to deal with, even though only an X-ray examination can reveal the presence of a green fracture. Primary symptoms are: pain, swelling and the inability of the individual to use the affected part. If you have stubbed your toe or some heavy object has fallen on you foot, it may develop a green fracture. There will be swelling and pain and you will be unable to put any weight on the foot. The immediate procedure to be started is to give complete rest to the affected foot. If there is swelling, it should be bound lightly with a piece of cloth before the patient is moved to a hospital for examination and treatment.

A fracture becomes apparent immediately it occurs; the affected bone will become misshapen and swelling will appear. If the broken ends of the bone grete against each other or pierce the muscle around it, there will be excruciating pain. The person suffering from a fracture should be laid on the ground or a bed, if one is available, and then the bone should be straightened. Splints-pieces of bamboo or pieces of a walking stick-should be bound around the length of the bone to keep it straight.

If a joint is dislocated, severe pain is felt around the site of the dislocation, there is inflammation and there is not movement. In such a case, the patient should be taken to the hospital or expert advice and treatment by an orthopedic surgeon should be sought.

The most serious fracture is that of the vertebral column which is fatal in a majority of cases. In case of an injury to the spine, the patient should be moved only by experts because a jarring of the vertebrae may snap the whole column and the patient may die suddenly. In case of severe injury to the spinal column, the patient loses the ability to move his legs. In the case of a road accident victim, those who seek to remove him to hospital should first ascertain, if the patient is conscious, whether he can move his lower limbs. He should be lifted only if the legs are capable of movement. If they are not, a stretcher should be placed alongside and he should be gently rolled on to it taking care not to put any pressure on the spine. A person with a spinal injury should never be jarred or jolted while being carried.

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