How To Tell The Difference Between A Broken Bone And A Sprain

Sprains and broken bones often happen during physical activity, in fact, athletes are the most susceptible to these injuries. When an injury occurs, it can be difficult to determine if the bone has been broken, or if the wound is a sprain. Although they may seem similar because they are both very painful, in fact, they are very different; a sprain is considered to be less severe than a break or fracture and can be treated at home. There are certain factors to look for when attempting to figure out what exactly has happened under the skin.

The Facts

What exactly is the difference between a sprain and a break? Technically speaking, a sprain occurs when a ligament – the tissue that binds two bones together – is torn or stretched. Ligaments help to stabilize the body and protect the joints. A sprain also occurs when too much pressure is put on the joints, this overstretches the ligament and can cause them to rupture completely. When a break or fracture occurs, the bone is chipped, cracked, or completely broken in two or more places. Breaks should always be checked by a healthcare professional to ensure proper healing.