Lesson 8: Injuries to Muscles, Bones, and Joints


Injuries to Muscles, Bones, and Joints

• Injuries to muscles, bones and joints often occur as a result of accidents, such as falls, vehicle crashes or forced impact with equipment or machinery.

• There are 4 types of muscle, bone and joint injuries:

– Fracture, Dislocation, Sprain and Strain


• A break or disruption in bone tissue.

– Fractures are commonly caused by direct, indirect or twisting forces.

– Fractures are classified as open or closed:

• Open fractures occur when the skin over the fracture site is broken

• Closed fractures leave the skin unbroken and are more common than open fractures


• A displacement of separation of a bone from its normal position at the joint.

• As with a fracture, dislocation can be caused by severe direct, indirect or twisting force


• A partial or complete tearing or stretching of ligaments and other tissues at a joint.

• A sprain usually results when the bones that form a joint are forced beyond their normal range.


• A stretching and tearing of muscles or tendon fibers

• A strain is sometimes called a muscle pull or tear. Strains often result from overexertion, such as lifting something too heavy or working a muscle too head.

Care for Musculoskeletal Injuries

• Giving proper care is more important than identifying the type of injury

– The care you give is the same whether the injury is a fracture, dislocation, sprain or strain.

• Assume any injury to an extremity includes a bone fracture.

• The general care for injuries to muscle, bone and joints includes following R.I.C.E.


• Rest: do not move or straighten the injured area.

• Immobilize: stabilize the injured area in the position found. Splint the injured part ONLY if the person must be moved and it does not cause more pain.

• Cold: apply ice to the injured area for periods of

20 minutes.

• Elevate: do not elevate the injured part if it causes more pain.


Injuries to Muscles, Bones and Joints


• A method of immobilizing an injured extremity and should ONLY be used if you have to move or transport a person to seek medical attention and if splinting does not cause more pain.

• If you have to splint:

– Splint an injury in the position in which you find

– Splint the injured area and the joints or bones above and below the injury site.

– Check for circulation (feeling, warmth, and color) before and after splinting.

Types of Splints

• Soft splints include folded blankets, towels, pillows and a sling.

• Rigid splints include boards, metal strips and folded magazines or newspapers.

– Use a triangular bandage to secure the rigid or soft splinting material in place

• Anatomic splints use an uninjured body part as a splint to immobilize an injured area.

– You can use tape to secure an uninjured finger to the injured

Head, Neck and Back Injuries

• These injuries may cause an unintentional death or life-long neurologic damage.

• If you suspect that a person has a head, neck or back injury, tell him/her to respond verbally to any questions you ask and to avoid nodding or shaking his/her head.

• Goal is to minimize movement

Care for Head/Neck/Back

• Call or have someone else call 9-1-1

• Minimize movement of the head, neck, and back by placing your hands on both sides of the person’s head. Maintain an open airway.

Have the person remain in the position in which you found him/her until advanced medical personnel arrive and take over.

• Monitor the ABC’s