Is the Limb Broken or Bruised? When to Go to Urgent CareFriday, March 15th, 2019, 12:49 am
When you injure your arm or leg, the pain can feel so excruciating that you think you may have broken it. Often, there is just some bruising or perhaps a sprain in the elbow or knee rather than a true break. It is important to know when to go to urgent care for injured limbs. You don’t want an unnecessary expense, but you also don’t want to leave a broken limb untreated.
Check for Swelling
A limb that is fractured will swell considerably fairly quickly. Just badly bruising a limb can also lead to some minimal swelling. If you aren’t sure if the limb is broken, put some ice on it for about 15 minutes. If the swelling goes away or decreases dramatically, chances are it is not broken. If the swelling doesn’t go down much or at all, you probably need to be seen.
Feel the Limb
Without putting too much pressure on the limb, feel it carefully for a break. Even if a break is not severe enough to poke through the skin, you will likely still be able to feel it. This is not a tried and true method, however, because a hairline fracture may not be able to be felt. Feeling the limb can give you a hint as to the severity of the injury. If there is too much swelling to tell if it is broken or not, you should be seen by a doctor.
Unable to Bear Weight
If you cannot lift anything with your arm or put weight on your leg without extreme pain, you should be seen by a doctor. A badly bruised limb will hurt when used, but it will be bearable. If the limb is broken you won’t be able to put any weight on it at all without terrible pain.
If you are ever unsure about whether an arm or leg is bruised or broken, err on the side of caution and get checked out by a doctor. Our urgent care center is prepared to handle such injuries and can help you determine the next steps you should take.