The weather is beautiful and it’s a great time to be outside, but Centra Care doctors warn that the increase in outdoor activity also brings many breaks, sprains, cuts and bruises.
In fact, every year, Centra Care locations report an increase in fractures, sprains, strains, lacerations and contusions.
Typical symptoms of a fractured bone are pain, swelling, bruising, and sometimes deformity at the site of injury. It can be difficult to diagnose a fracture just on symptoms alone, and remember, just because you can bend or move the injured arm or leg, doesn’t mean it’s not broken. To avoid further injury, it is best to get an x-ray of any traumatic injury (fall, twist, or sprain) if there are any concerns like significant pain, swelling, or pain that just isn’t resolving after a short period of time. You should probably have an x-ray if you notice:
- Rapid onset of swelling
- Severe pain
- Difficulty walking on the injured extremity
- Difficulty moving the injured extremity
- Pain and swelling that doesn’t improve after a few hours of ice and rest.
Something that’s very important to know about cuts, is that they should be evaluated by a doctor quickly. If you need stitches, that procedure should take place within 8-12 hours of the injury. You should also seek medical attention if the cut has any debris imbedded in it, such as glass, gravel or dirt.
Tetanus is a serious illness caused by tetanus bacteria, that often enters through open wounds. So make sure your tetanus booster shot is up-to-date. The first round of tetanus shots are given in a series throughout infancy, followed by a booster between the ages of 4 – 6, and again at around age 11 or 12. Tetanus boosters are recommended every 10 years thereafter, so if it has been more than 10 years and you have an open wound, Centra Care will give a Tetanus booster.
Infection is a primary concern following a wound. A superficial wound can heal with home treatment. But to avoid infection, be sure to carefully wash the area with soap and water. To help stop bleeding, apply pressure with a clean gauze pad and elevate the wound above the level of the heart.
The following are some things you shouldn’t do:
- Do NOT assume that a minor wound is clean because you can’t see dirt or debris inside. Wash it.
- Do NOT breathe on an open wound.
- Do NOT try to clean a major wound, especially after the bleeding is under control.
- Do NOT remove a long or deeply embedded object. Seek medical attention.
- Do NOT probe or pick debris from a wound. Seek medical attention.
- Do NOT push exposed body parts back in. Cover them with clean material until medical help arrives.
A muscle contusion is second only to strain as the leading cause of sports-related injuries. It can take months for a bruise to fade, but most last about two weeks.
Sprains and Strains
Stretching or tearing a ligament constitutes as a sprain.
A strain is a stretched or torn muscle or tendon, like a hamstring.