It is spring, finally! Everyone is eager now to get out and play and the kids are in the midst of spring sports season.

Baseball, soccer and lacrosse are not only popular spring sports but they are also known for injuries, often times to the leg, ankle or foot.

Sometimes it’s difficult to know if the injury is a sprain or a broken bone. How do we know?

To be clear, a fracture and a break are the same thing. Fractures, or breaks, can only happen to bones. Bones break, sprains twist or strain.
Sprains apply to soft tissue. A sprain occurs when you wrench or twist the ligaments of (an ankle, wrist, or other joint) harshly so as to cause pain and swelling but not necessarily dislocation.

Sprains can occur to ligaments, tendons or to muscle.

How do you know if it is a sprain or broken bone? The first sign is to look for any sort of jutting deformity: if you can see a bone protruding in the wrong spot, you can be sure it is a break or a fracture. If the arm or leg twists in a fashion that is abnormal, most likely it’s a break as well.
For those types of severe injuries you should more than likely go to the emergency room.

However, if there is bruising and swelling and you are unsure about whether it’s a sprain or a fracture, we would need to perform and x-ray to diagnosis the problem. That can be done right at AFC Urgent Care. A sprain will not show up in an x-ray; only bones will.

At AFC Urgent Care Stamford our doctors are well trained to interpret x-rays, which are also transmitted to radiology techs for an “over-read”. If it’s a sprain, it will be treated with compression, ice and instructions to keep the body part immobilized and elevated as long as possible until the inflammation decreases. Anti-inflammatories can also be taken.

Remember RICE:is-it-a-sprain-or-broken-bone
If deemed necessary, you will be referred to an orthopedist
We also have the ability to create a CD of the x-ray which you can bring with you to an orthopedist.

Preventing Sprains and Broken Bones:

There is less chance of a sprain or break occurring if proper stretching exercises are done prior to getting out on the field. Also, being properly padded when playing contact sports and by wearing a helmut when appropriate to guard against head injuries or concussions is a must.

Injured and need to see one of our providers?

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This has been a AFC Urgent Care Urgent Care Stamford Medical Minute. Follow us on Twitter at @drxStamford and on Facebook at