Could this be a sprain or a break?

Your bones are five times stronger than steel – yes, really NetFramework 4.8 Download! Still, as tough as they are, bones can break.

A broken bone, (also known as a fracture), happens when too much pressure is exerted onto your bone, causing it to crack, shatter or split. Fractures are mostly caused by injuries, falls, car accidents, or overuse (particularly if you run or play a sport).

Signs and symptoms of a broken bone:

  • Intense pain in and around the injured area
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Limited ability or inability to move.
  • A visible deformity in the injured area.
  • Broken skin with bone protruding from the wound.

Sprain or break?

The type of injury that causes a broken bone and a sprain is essentially the same. Here’s how to spot the difference.

It’s most likely a sprain if:

  • You can still walk or put weight on your ankle after a leg injury.
  • You have mild or no swelling.
  • You have pain and tenderness around the soft tissue areas, but not over the bone.

It’s most likely a broken bone if:

  • You can’t walk after a leg injury.
  • You have severe pain in and around your foot or ankle after a leg injury.
  • You still have swelling and pain after a few days.
  • Your affected joint looks deformed.

First aid for broken bones

Minor broken bones aren’t life-threatening, but a break does need professional medical attention. Get help if:

  • The broken bone is from major trauma like a sports injury or car accident.
  • The person is unconscious or stops breathing.
  • There is heavy bleeding.
  • The broken bone has pushed through the skin.
  • The injured area looks deformed, feels numb, or has turned blue in colour.
  • You suspect there is a broken bone in the head, neck or back.
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While you wait for the ambulance:

  • Don’t move the person! You may cause further injury.
  • Stop any bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with a sterile bandage, a clean cloth or a clean piece of clothing.
  • Immobilise the injured area using a splint or sling. Apply the splint to the area above and below the fracture sites. Never try to realign the bone or push a bone that’s sticking out back in.
  • Wrap an ice pack in a towel or piece of cloth, and apply it to the injured area to help reduce swelling and pain. Don’t apply the ice directly to the skin.
  • If the person is breathing in short, rapid breaths or feels faint lay him down in a comfortable position and encourage him to rest. Cover him with a blanket or item of clothing to keep him warm, and reassure him until help arrives.