Broken Bones.—Most frequently broken is the radius; the thumb-side bone of the forearm, which is most closely connected with the hand. We may break it by falling on the hand with force. In the same way also the ulna may be fractured; the other bone of the forearm. Next often broken is the bone of the arm (humerus) above the elbow; and frequently also the clavicle, or collar-bone. After these (besides fractures of the fingers), come fractures of the larger bone of the leg {tibia, shin-bone) below the knee; the thigh-bone (femur); of the ribs; of the knee-pan; and of the nose, lower jaw, and skull.

Broken Arm In Splints

We know a bone to be broken by the change in its shape; the pain caused by every movement; and the crackling noise (not loud), and crackling feeling to the touch, produced when the parts are moved. A broken limb is generally shortened; the muscles above and below the place of fracture drawing the two pieces so as to overlap each other. When the break is near a joint, it is sometimes difficult to be sure whether there is a fracture or a dislocation. This difficulty is much increased when swelling and inflammation follow, some hours after an injury. In examining to determine a change of shape in a limb, always compare it with its own fellow, on the opposite side of the body. The two are almost sure, when sound, to be alike; and if not so after one is hurt, this will help us to an understanding of the case. There is a change of shape also in dislocations; but in them the bones cannot be moved without great resistance; t h e r e is no crackling (crepitation) heard or felt; and when the bone is put back in its right place, it will stay there.

The most serious fractures are those called compound fractures; in which there is a wound of the flesh, communicating with the broken ends of the bone. Sometimes one end of a fragment is forced quite out through the skin.

In the treatment of fractured bones, the two aims are, to get the broken parts into their right places again, and to keep them there until they "knit together." This takes place by a natural process of growth, exactly like that by which a wound is healed on the surface of the body. A thick colorless fluid, plastic lymph, is poured out around and between the ends of the fragments of the broken bone. Gradually this fluid is, between those fragment-ends, changed to gristle (cartilage); and, in time, that gristle becomes solid bone. In one bone, when broken, the knee-pan {patella), it seldom gets beyond the stage of gristle or cartilage; because that bone, from its situation, receives too little blood to enable it to grow or repair so well as other parts.

Finger Bandade, and Figure Of 8

Putting a broken bone back to its right shape is called "setting" the bone. This is done, in most instances, by stretching the limb, so as to overcome the shortening action of the muscles; and at the same time adjusting the fragments by proper pressure near the place of fracture. After this has been effected, as nearly as possible, some means are needed to hold the parts in the same position. For this, splints, bandages, adhesive plasters, etc., are used. No unprofessional person should venture, if avoidable, to carry out the treatment of a broken bone without the aid and direction of a surgeon.

Bandage And Splint On Leg