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Possible Fracture: Care Instructions

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 or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) 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 or nurse advice line 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 colour.

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

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

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.