How To Tell If You Have A Break Or Sprain

Injuries can happen in a variety of instances. Whether you trip and fall walking down the street, slip while playing sports, or get hit by a large object, sprains and broken bones happen. It is important to know the signs on whether or not you have a broken bone or a sprain. Sprains are not always an emergency, but broken bones always require medical attention. 

Symptoms of ankle injuries

● Bruising

● Unable to place weight on the injury

● Different levels of pain

● Swelling

● Tenderness



 Ligaments are the tissues that connect two bones together. They also support and stabilize all of the joints in the body. Common side effects of a sprain specifically, is low to moderate pain, as well as moderate to intense swelling. If you are able to place weight on the part of your body that is injured, you most likely have a sprain over a broken bone. You do not need to see a doctor for a sprain, but if your symptoms worsen, see a doctor confirm it is not broken. 



Bones are able to be broken, chipped, or fractured. Breaks take longer to heal than sprains. The first sign that you have a broken bone is intense pain and inability to bear weight on the body part. If your injury does not get better for over a week, you should assume that you have a broken bone. Symptoms of a broken bone, including intense swelling and high levels of pain. Additionally, you may notice your bone looking deformed or abnormal. Numbness is a large sign of a broken bone. If you think you may have broken a bone, you should always contact a healthcare professional to confirm and take the necessary steps for healing. 


Questions to ask yourself after an injury

● Did you hear a noise when the injury happened? Was there a noise when it happened? A sprain may occur silently, or in severe cases, there may be a popping sound. With a fracture, you might hear a crack.

● Is your ankle an odd shape? While swelling is a symptom of both injuries, if your ankle looks clearly “off,” it’s most likely because a bone is broken.

● Does your ankle feel numb? With both a sprain and a broken bone, you will feel pain. But if there is specifically numbness and tingling, you will most likely have a broken ankle. 

● Where is the root of your pain? If the pain is in the softer part of your ankle, then you probably have a Spain. If you have a lot of pain directly over the bone, you will most likely have a fracture. 

If, after asking yourself these questions, you are still unsure, your doctor or medical professional can give you tests to figure out if you have a sprain or a fracture.


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