How do you know if you have a fracture?

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Daddy says:
As a doctor who works regularly in Emergency Department, I have many friends who regularly ask my advice when their kids fell down. “Do I need to bring my child to the hospital emergency department for an X-ray?”
Generally, you maybe able to assess if your child may have a fracture and needs an X-ray. Some of the things you can observe are:
1. Can your child walk or run well after the fall? If the injury is on his legs and he can still run well (i.e. without a limp), generally, there is no fracture.
2. Is there any bruises, swelling or deformity at the fall site? If you have any of these signs, especially bruises and deformity, then there is a high chance that there is a fracture.
If you suspect there is a fracture, you should immobilize the particular joint, so that you would not accidentally aggravate the injury. For example, if the swelling and deformity is on the elbow, the patient should not move the elbow and instead, get a cloth to make a sling to support the arm and bring him to the hospital emergency department for an X-ray.
If your child is below 16 years old and prefer to go to a government hospital for X-ray, you should bring him to either KK Hospital or National University Hospital in Singapore as only these two hospitals in the government sector has paediatric orthopedic services to manage the fracture.
This picture, courtesy of this website : http://www.buzzle.com/articles/broken-toe-what-to-do.html shows a suspected foot fracture as you can see swelling and bruises at the last toe area. If your child has these signs suggestive of a fracture, you should bring him to the hospital Emergency Department for an X-ray and further treatment.

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4 Comments

  1. Generally it takes 1-2 months for a toe fracture to heal, but it depends on a few factors like how badly the fracture was and also the patient’s own factor like whether he has osteoporosis (loss of bone substances due to old age). There are many people who took longer than expected to heal as they tend to walk on the fracture toe and this will prolong the healing process.

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