The Structural System
Lesson 14, Page 6 of 16

Locomotion is not a function of the skin.

When Something Goes Wrong


A fracture is a break or crack in a bone. A simple, or closed, fracture is one that is not visible on the surface. A compound, or open, fracture involves a rupture to the skin, possibly revealing a part of the bone. The symptoms of fracture are severe pain, tenderness and swelling. When the ends of the fractured bone are misaligned they must be realigned, or set, otherwise the bone will heal with a deformity. This is called reducing a fracture. It takes about six weeks for a broken bone to heal completely.

Sodas and the Bones:
  A Harvard study of teenage girls, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (June 2000), found that carbonated beverages, particularly colas, may weaken bone structure. Broken bones occurred three times more often in ninth and tenth-grade girls who drank any kind of soda routinely, and five times more often in girls who drank colas. The researchers suggested that the phosphoric acid found in sodas may weaken bones.


A strain involves the tearing of a muscle, while a sprain involves the tearing of a ligament of a joint. Both are referred to as soft tissue injuries to differentiate them from a fracture, or an injury to a bone. Strains and sprains can involve a rupture, in which the tissue is torn completely in two, but incomplete tears are by far the most common. Some soft tissue injuries are referred to as strain/sprains because they involve tearing of both muscle and ligament. Strains are characterized by pain, swelling, and tenderness of the injured muscle. Sprains are characterized by pain, swelling, and difficulty in moving the injured joint. The most frequently sprained joints are the ankle, knee, and wrist.

Severe strains and sprains, or ruptures, should be treated like a fracture by a health professional. Mild to moderate strains and sprains can usually be effectively treated at home. To remember how to treat a mild to moderate strain or sprain, remember the acronym RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression (lightly wrapping the injured area with a bandage, being careful not to cut off the circulation), and Elevation, raising the injured area, preferably above the heart, to help reduce pain and swelling. Heat should never be applied to an acute strain or sprain. Heat may be used after the swelling has gone down, usually after several days, but initially ice should be used.

Which of the following is not a part of the treatment regimen for an acute strain or sprain.

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