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The difference between sprain and fracture

difference between sprain and fracture


A fracture is the loss of continuity in the normal structure of a bone, added to the trauma and the alteration of the soft tissue and the surrounding neurovascular tissues.

Among the various types of bone fractures are the following:

  • Simple: When the bone breaks without leaving the muscles and dermis.
  • Exposed: Occurs when broken bone can be seen outside the skin.
  • Oblique – angle fracture with the shaft.
  • Conminuta – fracture in many relatively small fragments.
  • Spiral – a fracture disposed around the axis of the bone.

The most affected sites are the clavicle, wrist and femur. They present signs and symptoms such as swelling, pain, bleeding, inability to move, hematoma. The best way to avoid pain and complications is to perform immobilization.

Treatment is given with resting of the injured site, application of ice wrapped in the plastic bag (not forgetting to protect the skin with a towel or cloth because the ice can burn) and elevate the limb to reduce swelling.


It  is the twisting of a joint, with injury of the ligaments (structures that connect one bone to another, in the joints), and the ligaments can suffer total or partial rupture. Its causes are due to irregularity of the soil, use of high shoes and narrow heels and certain ways of walking. Its signs and symptoms are: intense pain in the place, swelling, deformity, difficulty to move, hematoma.

At home or in places outside the hospital environment, we can ask the victim not to move the affected limb, call the Emergency Service (SAMU 192) or take him to a health facility. Some objects can be used to keep the affected limb immobilized: boards, swimming boards, notebooks, among others. The most important thing is not to move it and not to use tight straps.

Difference between fracture and a sprain

  • A fracture consists of loss of bone continuity while sprain is an injury that consists of the momentary separation of the two parts of a joint, causing the rupture or tearing of the ligaments around it.
  • Symptoms of fractures:The characteristics of a fracture are:
    – Intense pain, which will also increase as we try to move the area.
    – Deformity of the injured part of the body.
    – Bruising or redness of the affected area.
    – Inability to move.
    – Swelling.
  • Symptoms of sprains:The characteristics of a sprain are:

    – Intense pain, which will also increase as we try to move the area.
    – Bruising or redness of the affected area.
    – Inability to move.
    – Swelling or inflammation

  • First Aid in case of a sprain:– Raise the affected extremity, even at night.
    – Absolute rest of the area.
    – Application of local cold, with ice, but never in direct contact.
    – We will wrap the ice in a clean cloth and we will apply it in intervals of time.
    – Transfer to a hospital for the corresponding tests and if necessary we will be given a splint or plaster.
    – Rest for several days, depending on the degree of severity of the sprain.
    – Usually, it will be 10 days for mild sprains and 3 to 5 weeks for serious sprains.
    – It may be necessary for the injured person to need the use of walking crutches.
  •  First Aid in case of fracture: If we are in a situation where a person has suffered a fracture, we must do:

    1. The first thing we will do is to calm the victim so that it is easier to achieve the following steps;
    2. We will remove the rings, bracelets, watches or anything that is in the affected limb and that when swelling can cause more pain or hamper the immobilization of the limb.
    We will immobilize the fracture, placing a sling or splinting the limb. For this we can use a rolled newspaper or wooden tablets.
    3. The injured bone should be immobilized both above and below.
    4. If the skin shows rupture, and therefore we are faced with an open fracture, to prevent infection, should be treated immediately.
    We will rinse it gently to remove everything that can contaminate it trying not to rub it too hard.
    5. We will cover it with some sterile gauze.

  • Extremely Dangerous Fractures:When the injured present certain characteristics, which we will now expose, we will have to take special care and above all we must keep out of the way if specialized personnel arrives.
    If the injured has an injury to the head , thighs or pelvis, we will not move it, unless absolutely necessary, and in that case, we will drag it, grabbing it from the clothes.
    If the injured has an injury to the spine , we will not move it, nor drag it, nor of course, try to relocate the deviation of it.
    Neither will we attempt to straighten out the injury; of that will be taken care of by the medical personnel.

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Difference between fracture, sprain and dislocation