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Fractures, Sprains & Bruising

Know the Signs of Emergency Injuries

Accidents happen, whether you’ve taken a spill on the soccer field or stumbled on the sidewalk. But how do you know when your injury is serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor? It can be difficult to determine on your own, because broken bones (fractures), sprains, and other injuries have similar symptoms. That means your best bet is to get to the doctor’s office as quickly as possible to diagnose your injury and get the proper treatment so you can recover as soon as possible.

If you think you may have broken a bone, seek immediate medical attention. Prompt treatment ensures you will have the optimal treatment outcome.

How Do I Know if I Broke a Bone?

Usually, fractures are caused by a traumatic injury, such as a fall or direct blow.

Signs and symptoms of a broken bone include:

  • Swelling or bruising at the site of the injury
  • Limb deformity, if the leg(s) or arm(s) were injured
  • Pain that gets worse when pressure is applied
  • Inability to bear weight on an injured foot, ankle, or leg
  • Loss of function in the area, including immobility
  • You heard a cracking sound at the time of the injury
  • A bone that protrudes from the skin

How Do I Know if I Have a Sprain?

Sometimes what patients think is a fracture is actually a sprain. The difference between fractures and sprains is the body tissues that are affected: Sprains are caused by stretching or tearing of ligaments. Common sprain sites include the ankles, wrists, and elbows, but sprains are possible in any joint.

Signs of a sprain include:

  • Pain in the soft tissue over a bone, but not the bone itself
  • You can still bear weight, although it may be very painful
  • Swelling and bruising in the injured area
  • Lack of mobility in the affected area
  • Hearing a popping sound at the time of the injury

Should I See a Doctor for a Bruise?

Bruises are very common. They are caused by damaged blood cells collecting deep under the skin and collecting near the surface, resulting in black and blue discoloration caused by microscopic tears in blood vessels. Bruises are often caused by accidentally bumping into something, or something bumping into you. In certain cases, a bruise may occur for no apparent reason, and this could indicate a bleeding disorder. Older people are more likely to bruise, too, because their skin becomes thinner with age. Another cause of bruising is if you take blood thinners.

You should seek medical care if:

  • You think you have broken a bone as well as sustained a bruise
  • Your bruise causes extreme pain
  • If you take blood-thinning medication
  • The bruise does not heal within 2 weeks
  • You have suffered a blow to the head

Have you sustained a serious injury? Our team at Baptist Emergency Room & Urgent Care can help. Our walk-in clinic is open 24/7 and no appointments are necessary.