Possible Fracture: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

You may have a broken (fractured) bone. At this time, the break is not visible in X-rays.

Even if the X-rays didn't show a break, there may be one. And not all breaks can be seen on an X-ray. The doctor may want you to wear a splint to protect the bone. The splint will keep the bone from moving. This lets the bone start to heal and helps prevent further injury. You may need a follow-up X-ray in 1 to 2 weeks.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Follow your doctor's directions for wearing a splint.
  • If you can, prop up the injured area on a pillow when you ice it or anytime you sit or lie down during the next 3 days. Try to keep it above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when you are awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have problems with your splint. For example:
    • The skin under the splint is burning or stinging.
    • The splint feels too tight.
    • There is a lot of swelling near the splint. (Some swelling is normal.)
    • You have a new fever.
    • There is drainage or a bad smell coming from the splint.
  • You cannot move the injured area.
  • You have new or worse pain in the injured area.
  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness in the injured area.
  • The injured area turns cold or changes color.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You are having problems with your splint.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.