The slip and fall season is here. Every year, over a million people will visit an emergency room because they were injured by slipping on things like ice and wet floors. A person who falls will typically stretch out their arms to protect themselves from hitting the ground hard, and this can result in a separated or dislocated shoulder. You can do a few things to keep the shoulder injury from getting worse and relieve some of the pain the person is feeling. Here is how you can treat an injured shoulder.
Check the radial pulse on the victim. The radial artery is located on the lateral side of your wrist just below your thumb. Use your index and middle fingers to press down on the radial artery (don’t use your thumb – the thumb has its own pulse, and it is very hard to tell the difference between the pulse from your thumb and the pulse on the victim’s wrist). You are checking the radial pulse to make sure the injury hasn’t cut off the blood flow to the arm. If you don’t find a pulse, you could have a true medical emergency on your hands and you should call 911 right away to take victim to the nearest emergency room.
You should stabilize the arm and shoulder to prevent further damage from happening. You will need to create a sling to rest the arm in. A sling can be made out of a scarf. Wrap the scarf around the arm and tie both ends together around the back of the victim’s neck. You should also try to hold the shoulder in place close to the body. If need be, open the victim’s coat, place the arm inside the coat and zipper it back up.
Pack snow and ice into a bag, towel, or a pull over winter cap. Place the ice or snow on the injured shoulder. The cold will help to reduce the swelling and pain.
Don’t give pain medication right away. The doctor will need to determine the extent of damage to the shoulder to prescribe the right treatment. One way they do this is by assessing the pain the victim is experiencing when the doctor examines their shoulder. Pain medication limits the amount of pain a victim is feeling and it can mask the amount of damage that has happened to the shoulder.
Get Medical Help
You should take the victim to the doctor’s office or emergency room to have them examined by a trained physician once you have immobilized the shoulder. For treatment after the emergency, visit Orthopaedic Associates Of Rochester.