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11 Surprising Facts About the Skeletal System

People have known how to deal with bone fractures for thousands of years.

girl at doctor

Humans have, no doubt, suffered from broken bones for as long as the species has been around. But people have known how to deal with such fractures for a very long time, too, according to a 2009 review in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.

For example, in ancient Egypt's Edwin Smith Papyrus, which dates back to around 1600 B.C., the authors describe how to treat bone fractures, including a broken upper arm. Their recommendation: Realign the bone fragments (a process called reduction) and bandage the injury with linen.

And in the Hippocratic Collection, a Greek medical document circa 440–340 B.C., the authors fully describe their technique for reduction, which involves soaking linen bandages in oil and wax.