The Difference Between a Sprain vs. Fracture

Thursday, July 15th, 2021, 4:49 am

Between a Sprain vs. FractureIf you’ve sustained an injury, your best option is to promptly visit a medical professional and receive a diagnosis. Diagnosing yourself is unreliable and may lead to further injury. That being said, knowing the difference between a sprain and a fracture can be helpful in better understanding the terminology used by your doctor. 


A sprain occurs when a ligament surrounding the joint is stretched or torn. Sprains range from Grade 1 to Grade 3. A Grade 1 sprain occurs when a ligament is only stretched, a Grade 2 sprain occurs when the ligament is incompletely torn, and a Grade 3 sprain occurs when the ligament is torn or completely separates from a joint. 

With a sprain, you’ll feel pain in the soft tissue rather than the bone itself. People with sprains can often bear weight on the joint, although doing so may be quite painful. The main symptoms of a sprain include pain, inflammation, bruising, stiffness, and often a popping sound from the joint when the injury occurs. 


Fractures occur when a bone or cartilage breaks, cracks, or splinters. This most commonly occurs after a trauma to the joint, such as a fall.

In general, the symptoms of a fracture are more severe than the symptoms of a sprain. That being said, fractures do have some similar symptoms to sprains, including pain, inflammation, bruising, and stiffness. However, with a fracture, people generally can’t bear weight on the injured joint. 

Regardless of if your injury is a sprain or a fracture, it is necessary to rest, ice, and elevate the injured joint as soon as possible. Then, schedule an appointment with a doctor to diagnose the injury. An x-ray can provide a definitive answer as to whether you have a sprain or a fracture. From there, your doctor can provide further treatment and care instructions. 

At Suncoast Urgent Care, we offer prompt treatment for sprains and fractures. Contact us today to learn more. 


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Category: Injuries

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