Two Reasons To Follow-Up With An Orthopedic Specialist After You Have A Splint Done In The Emergency Room
When you think you've broken one of your bones, the first place you might go is the local emergency room to have it seen by a doctor. While the doctors in the ER can X-Ray the area to determine if the bone is indeed broken and provide initial assistance, their attempt to splint the bone may not be done properly. Here are a couple of reasons to follow-up with an orthopedic specialist and ensure that you can heal properly.
The Splint May Not Have the Bone In the Right Position
When an splint is applied, it should allow for the natural positioning of the bone. For instance, if the ankle is getting the splint, it is natural that it would be splinted perpendicular to the foot. However, some ER splinting is done without that in mind, which can allow the bone to heal in a way that might inhibit mobility or function later. An orthopedic specialist will check for correct positioning so the bone heals the way it's supposed to.
The Splint Might Be Cutting Off Blood Flow
When you break any bone, it's natural that you'll be in varying degrees of discomfort. Any pain you're feeling is likely to be categorized by you as normal, particularly if you have never broken a bone before this experience. What may surprise you is that some of your pain might be caused by the splint being tighter than necessary. If this happens, you'll feel increased pain, but more importantly, the blood flow to extremities could be cut off. That can lead to other health problems; the splint should be taken off and another should be put on.
Capillary refill tests are the quickest way to figure out if you're having circulation issues. To do this, push down on a toe nail bed (if the leg has a splint) or finger nailbed (if the arm is splinted) for a few seconds. When you let go, you'll see that the nail bed has become pale. That's because you've effectively pushed blood out of the area. If all is well, blood should rush into the area when you let go; that should happen within two seconds. If that doesn't happen and the area remains pale, you should contact an orthopedic specialist right away because there could indeed by a circulation problem.
For the reasons outlined in this article, taking a trip to a local orthopedic specialist is a wise idea. They may have additional splints and supplies to keep your bone and surrounding muscles comfortable during healing.