Coping with Orthopedic Injuries the WildernessVenturing into Utah’s vast reaches of wilderness is a long standing and time honored tradition of asignificant population within the state. The outdoors becomes a place for bonding between older andyounger generations as both experience the adventure, danger, and thrill that await them in the wilds ofnature.The Great Outdoors and InjuriesThere are multiple aspects to outdoor fun but almost all include some risk of incurring injury to oneself.The very nature of most outdoor recreation activities, such as skiing and snowboarding, or hunting andfishing, include within them an added risk of injury. These injuries, again by the very nature of theactivities that are being participated in, are more likely to be sustained on the extremities of theindividual as a person’s arms and legs are frequently used in any form of outdoor recreation. When an injury like a fracture or sprain is suffered to any extremity it can be extremely painful for the person who is hurt, but when the wilds of the wilderness are added on top of incurring one of these debilitating injuries, the result can be downright dangerous. The wildernesses of Utah are inherently dangerous and unforgiving and the week or injured are immediately put behind the eight ball in terms of pure survival.Perhaps the best way to get out of the danger filled mountains and deserts of Utah after sustaining adebilitating injury is to first never venture out alone. By taking someone with you a team develops andthat team is typically successful in managing any emergency situation.Should a leg suffer a fracture or an arm snap after a fall, those who enter the outdoors should beprepared and armed with the basic knowledge of how to appropriately set and care for a broken bone.It should here be noted that professionals need to be contacted as soon as is possible so that the injuredperson will be properly cared for by trained rescue professionals and orthopedic surgeons in Utah;therefor only the minimum amount of care should be administered by armatures to avoidunintentionally worsening the damage.Administering Emergency AidWhen a brake is suffered by an individual while venturing in the wilderness, the first thing that must bedone by those present is to assess the situation and condition of the injured person. Immediate threats,like perhaps whatever cause the injury in the first place, should be addressed and mitigated by thetending party or injured individual to avoid further injury.Once external threats are removed, care for the injured can initiate. Assess whether the brake hassevered a major artery or vain and subsequently caused internal bleeding by observing the areasurrounding the broken bone.
If massive swelling, discoloration, or numbness is present around the break, or if the skin around thebrake becomes cool to the touch, than it is likely that severe internal injury has been incurred. If this isthe case the injury should be treated with extensive care andwith as little manipulation as possible.If the brake can be set, proceed to do so by causing traction,either with a foot or brace, and pulling the extremity straightout until the bone sets. Follow this with a ready split toimmobilize the area and watch for signs of shock in theinjured person as this process may be painful.Above all, if the situation requires more knowledge and skillthan you possess than the best way to help the injured is to seek professional help as even the bestintentions performed inadequately can cause more harm than good.