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Thigh Fracture
The femur is the long bone of the upper part of the leg between the kneecap and the pelvis. When the femur is fractured through, any attempt to move the limb results in a spasm of the muscles and causes excruciating pain. The leg has a wobbly motion, and there is complete loss of control below the fracture. The limb usually assumes an unnatural position, with the toes pointing outward. By actual measurement, the fractured leg is shorter than the uninjured one because of contraction of the powerful thigh muscles. Serious damage to blood vessels and nerves often results from a fracture of the femur, and shock is likely to be severe.

If the fracture is open, stop the bleeding and treat the wound before attempting to treat the fracture itself. Serious bleeding is a special danger in this type of injury, since the broken bone may tear or cut the large artery in the thigh.

Carefully straighten the leg. Apply two splints, one on the outside of the injured leg and one on the inside. The outside splint should reach from the armpit to the foot. The inside splint should reach from the crotch to the foot. The splints should be fastened in five places: (1) around the ankle; (2) over the knee; (3) just below the hip; (4) around the pelvis; and (5) just below the armpit (fig. 4-37). The legs can then be tied together to support the injured leg as firmly as possible.

It is essential that a fractured thigh be splinted before the victim is moved. Manufactured splints, such as the Hare or the Thomas half-ring traction splints, are best, but improvised splints may be used. Figure 4-37 shows how boards may be used as an emergency splint for a fractured thigh. Remember, DO NOT MOVE THE VICTIM UNTIL THE INJURED LEG HAS BEEN IMMOBILIZED. Treat the victim for shock, and evacuate at the earliest possible opportunity.

Lower Leg Fracture
When both bones of the lower leg are broken, the usual signs of fracture are likely to be present. When only one bone is broken, the other one acts as a splint and, to some extent, prevents deformity of the leg. However, tenderness, swelling, and pain at the point of

Figure 4-36.-Splint and sling for a fractured upper arm.

fracture are almost always present. A fracture just above the ankle is often mistaken for a sprain. If both bones of the lower leg are broken, an open fracture is very likely to result.

If the fracture is open, stop the bleeding and treat the wound. Carefully straighten the injured leg. Apply a pneumatic splint if available; if not, apply three splints, one on each side of the leg and one underneath. Be sure that the splints are well padded, particularly under the knee and at the bones on each side of the ankle.

A pillow and two side splints work very well for treatment of a fractured lower leg. Place the pillow beside the injured leg, then carefully lift the leg and place it in the middle of the pillow. Bring the edges of the pillow around to the front of the leg and pin them together. Then place one splint on each side of the leg (over the pillow), and fasten them in place with strips of bandage or adhesive tape. Treat the victim for shock and evacuate as soon as possible. When available, you may use the Hare or Thomas half-ring traction splints.

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