Breaks Versus Sprains

Many athletes consider sprains and broken bones as par for the course when participating in sports activities, but for people who are not quite so gung-ho about their sporting activities it may come as an unpleasant surprise to encounter a painful injury which cannot be easily distinguished as either broken or sprained. In many cases, the only way to get a definitive diagnosis will be to head to the doctor and have an x-ray done.

Sprains and broken bones can appear quite similar. It’s a common misconception that sprains are always less painful than breaks, and it’s also untrue that if you can walk on your foot or have full mobility in your hand then they can’t possibly be broken. Sprains can be extremely painful and can even merit surgical intervention if they are serious enough. Broken bones can sometimes still be used – albeit painfully – which really surprises some people. The bottom line is this: Both sprains and broken bones from sports injuries have the potential to be quite serious, and can lead to an extended period of recovery time while the body repairs itself. For either injury, you should head to the doctor and have the injury evaluated. Without a proper diagnosis and treatment you might wind up not treating the injured body part correctly and this can result in further injury.

How do you know if your injury is a sprain or a break? Some broken bones are quite obvious; whenever a bone is protruding out of the skin it’s pretty apparent that something in there is broken. When everything is intact inside the skin, however, it can be nearly impossible to know which ailment is to blame for the pain. When a sports injury is the result of an impact, such as a whack to the leg or arm, the first guess for a diagnosis will probably be a break since the bone itself was harmed. If the sports injury is a result of rolling an ankle or twisting a wrist or anything similar, a sprain may be the culprit. It’s important to stress, however, that something that seems like a sprain can very well be a break, just as something that appears to be a bad break can be a sprain instead.

It’s important to know the cause of the pain before proceeding with treatment. If a break is left alone and heals on its own then it may not heal correctly, and there are actual instances of physicians needing to re-break bones in order to set them into a proper position for healing. It’s also interesting to note that it is entirely possible to both sprain and break a bone within the same injury, so something like a sprained ankle accompanied by a broken foot is not unheard of. A lot depends on the cause of the injury and if the area has been injured before, making it more susceptible to injuries. Whatever the case, be sure to consult with a doctor in order to receive a proper diagnosis or either a sprain or a break, or something else entirely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All material on is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken
based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.