Is it a Break or a Sprain? How to Tell

Broken bones, particularly the arm and collarbone, are some of the most common injuries in both children and adults. They are also some of the most common reason people visit emergency rooms. These types of injuries usually result from either a fall during which the person attempts to catch themselves with an outstretched arm or suffers a direct blow to the bone by a hard object such during an automobile accident.

Some breaks are easy to detect, but there are some that may not be so obvious. It pays to be able to determine when a bone is broken or when a joint has been sprained. In either case, however, a trip to the emergency room is likely required. Visiting the ER to check out an injury such as these can help avoid further complications. Medical personnel at the ER can x-ray the injury site and prescribe appropriate treatments. This will get you back on the path to good health in the fastest possible time.

The five most common bones that sustain accidental breakage are:

  1. Collarbone,
  2. Arm,
  3. Wrist.
  4. Hip, and
  5. Ankle.

Sports injuries, accidents around the house, falls, and automobile accidents occur daily and can result in bone and joint injuries. Below are some signs and indicators that help you decide whether or not a bone is broken or whether you’ve suffered a sprain. In either case, you should visit an emergency room such as one of the Emergency Hospital System’s ERs. The medical staff will evaluate your injury and prescribe the proper treatment. Nevertheless, helping to alleviate the pain of the injury before you arrive at the clinic will make the patient more comfortable and help prevent further damage to the bone of tendons.

As a general case, most breaks will be accompanied by a significant amount of pain which increases with movement. Also, there will be a lot of swelling and, possibly, some deformity when compared to the opposite limb – for example, comparing one arm to the other. If the injury is to the arm or foot, apply mild pressure at the injury site. If there is a pain in one area only, then it could indicate a break. For both a break and a sprain, immobilize the area, for example, by taping the arm to a tightly rolled up newspaper or using a stretch bandage to wrap an ankle. Then, go to the emergency room for medical attention.

If a broken bone is protruding through the skin, attempt first to stop the bleeding, then immobilize the area and go immediately to an emergency room. There the medical team may order an x-ray, or MRI and set the bone in a cast. Depending on the severity of the injury, surgery may be required to reset the bone fractures.

If the injury is an ankle sprain, be sure to tell the ER doctor how you sustained the damage. For example, did the foot turn inward or did the foot twist. This will provide important information to help identify exactly which tendons or ligaments might be involved in the sprain. The usual treatment for sprains is remembered using the acronym R.I.C.E. – meaning Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. REST the injured area, limit movement, and put no weight on a foot or ankle injury. ICE is used as a compress to help reduce swelling. An ice pack on the injury can help reduce pain and limit swelling. COMPRESSION means to wrap the injury with a bandage, such as an elastic Ace bandage. This helps to minimize movement as well as swelling. Finally, ELEVATE the injury higher than the heart, if possible, to help reduce inflammation. Your doctor will also likely prescribe pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

If you or anyone in your family suffers a fall, has a sports injury, or is involved in any sort of trauma accident which results in either an apparent broken bone or severe sprain, go to the nearest Emergency Hospital System’s emergency room for an evaluation. We have five locations, conveniently located in the communities of Cleveland (2), Spring, Porter, and Humble. Our medical facilities are open 24/7/365 with ample free parking. Call today and make an appointment or just walk in. Our wait times are short. Accidents happen, and sprains and broken bones can be the result. We’re here for you, 281-592-5400 (Cleveland location.)

Disclaimer - Use At Your Own Risk :- The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. Any action you take upon the information on these blogs are strictly at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses or damages in connection with the use of the information from these blogs.
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