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A compound/open fracture is more obvious to a healthcare provider than a simple/closed fracture because your bone has broken through your skin. The healthcare provider will do a physical examination and then order X-rays to see exactly how the bones are broken and how they need to be aligned. Sometimes healthcare providers require a more sensitive test, like an MRI (magnetic resonance images) or a CT scan (computed tomography) to fully assess the damage from the fracture.

Your healthcare provider will check for complications in addition to diagnosing the compound fracture itself. They’ll do the following:

  • Check the color and temperature of your skin.
  • Check your pulse and blood pressure to be sure there is no significant bleeding.
  • Check for nerve damage by examining the area around and beyond your injury.


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