download (4)Sprains and fractures are some of the most common injuries people experience. While they do occur in athletes they are not considered a sports related injury. These types of injuries can happen to anyone, anywhere. Falling down or walking the wrong way can cause the extreme pain that goes along with a fracture or sprain. However, since both injuries are so similar people often have a difficult time distinguishing between the two. But knowing what you are suffering from is important to the healing and recovery process. Here are some of the differences between a fracture and sprain to help you better understand them.

Immediately after the injury occurs it is important not to put any additional weight to the body part. Observe the site of the injury to try and identify the cause. If the limb is bent or twist  unnaturally or you cannot move the injured part it is probably a fracture. One of the main indications of a fracture is immediate swelling and discoloration. The pain occurred from a fracture is often right at the site of the break while during a sprain the pain is more spread out around the area. If you believe you have fractured a bone you will need to be treated by a doctor immediately. An emergency room or clinic will be able to respond quickly and properly diagnose the injury. If the fracture occurs in the fingers or toes the emergency room may not be necessary, but it should still be checked by a doctor shortly after the injury occurs.

Sprains are injuries to a ligament as it crosses a joint. This causes pain and some swelling to the area. If you believe you are suffering from a sprain it is best use the area as little as possible. To reduce the pain and swelling use a mixture of ice, compression and elevation. For the first 48 hours apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. After that replace the ice for a hot water bottle to increase blood flow and speed the healing process. Sprains to not require medical attention to treat, although it is recommend to see a doctor in order to get a proper diagnoses. Severe sprains such as torn ligaments, tendons and blood vessels require more medical attention. After the sprain is healed make sure to strengthen the muscle before fully using it again. Gently move the muscle through it’s full range of motion. Gradually start to increase the use of it again until you have full use and mobility back.

To try and avoid any injury make sure you properly warm up for an activity. If you still do occur an injury make sure you know what you are suffering from. Proper treatment and rehabilitation is vital to get over either injury and get back to your normal day to day activities.