Edema and swelling
Disruption or penetration of skin or soft tissues by bone fragments, or bleeding into surrounding tissues
Unchecked bleeding and swelling in closed space can occlude blood vessels and damage nerves (e.g., increased risk of compartment syndrome).
Pain and Tenderness
Muscle spasm due to involuntary reflex action of muscle, direct tissue trauma, increased pressure on nerves, movement of fracture fragments.
Pain and tenderness encourage the patient to splint muscle around fracture and reduce motion of injured area.
Irritation of tissues and protective response to injury and fracture.
Muscle spasms may displace nondisplaced fracture or prevent it from reducing spontaneously
Abnormal position of extremity or part as result of original forces of injury and action of muscles pulling fragment into abnormal position. Seen as a loss of normal bony contours.
Deformity is cardinal sign of fracture. If uncorrected, it may result in problems with bony union and restoration of function of injured part.
Discoloration of skin (bruising) as a result of extravasation of blood in subcutaneous tissues.
Bruising may appear immediately after injury and may appear distal to injury. Reassure patient that process is normal and discoloration will eventually resolve.
Loss of Function
Disruption of bone or joint, preventing functional use of limb or part.
Fracture must be managed properly to ensure restoration of function to limb or part
Grating or crunching of bony fragments, producing palpable or audible crunching or popping sensation
Crepitation may increase chance for nonunion if bone ends are allowed to move excessively
Micromovement of fragments (postfracture) assists in osteogenesis (new bone growth).