woman holding ankle in pain

Is it a Sprain or a Break?

Do I Have a Broken Bone?

For athletes and elderly patients, joint pain or damage can be cause for a visit to your doctor. Taking supplements and increasing your calcium intake is a great way to protect your joints and bones and prevent damage.

When an injury happens, like a blow to the knee or a slip and fall, it can be hard to know what’s wrong. Often, it’s either a sprain or a break — but the two feel very similar.

What is a Strain?

A strain is a soft tissue injury that occurs when a ligament (a tissue that connects two or more bones at one joint) is stretched, and a sprain occurs when a ligament is torn. Typically, sprains take about a week to heal, though in some cases, it can take weeks or more.

Symptoms of a strain include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Popping noise

Strains typically require rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications.

What is a Break?

A break is also called a fracture and refers to when a bone is shattered by excessive force. When a break goes through part or all of a bone, it’s also called a broken bone. An X-ray is commonly needed to diagnose a broken bone — unless the bone is popping through the skin.

A broken bone has the following symptoms:

  • Inability to put weight on the limb (deformity).
  • Crunching sound at the time of the incident.
  • Pain and swelling.

Patients with a broken bone may need a cast, screws, and metal plates. When in doubt, use caution, apply a good RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) strategy, and seek medical attention right away.

Houston Urgent Care Services

Gemini Urgent Care, located in the heart of Clear Lake City, Texas, has X-ray and CT capability to diagnose fractures, and our medical staff is very experienced in treating all types of injuries. If you suffer a painful injury, we can see you immediately and have you feeling better and on your way home usually in less than an hour.

Contact our team to schedule an appointment: (281) 572-5505