Medical

Difference Between Fracture and Sprain

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Main Difference

The main difference between Fracture and Sprain is that Fracture is called breaking of bones, whereas Sprain is called the stretching of ligaments.

Fracture vs. Sprain

Breaking or twisting of bones is called a fracture, whereas stretching of ligaments, which are tissues that connect bones at joints, is called a sprain. A fracture happens in elbows, wrists, hands, arms, legs, ankle, foot, and toes. On the other hand, sprain usually happens in ankle and wrist.

Fracture mostly happens due to high force or stress o bones, whereas sprain mostly happens due to extreme force on the soft tissues called ligaments that join a bone to a bone. Fracture has many types, including simple, compound, complete, and incomplete fractures. On the other hand, sprain has no further types.

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A fracture can be diagnosed through an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan, etc. On the flip side, a sprain can be diagnosed easily by health care professionals, or an X-ray can be suggested for the analysis. The fracture can occur as a result of an accident, falling, or sports injury, etc. On the other hand, a sprain can occur as a result of falling, hitting, or twisting.

Fractures can be the result of osteoporosis, which is softening of bones due to lack of calcium and vitamin D, whereas sprains are generally not caused by osteoporosis. The symptoms of fracture are that the affected area is unable to move, bone bent at an unusual angle, and deformity in the affected area. On the flip side, a sprain is accompanied by pain, swelling, and bruising, etc.

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Comparison Chart

FractureSprain
A break or crack in bones is called a fracture.Stretching, or twisting of one or more ligaments is called a sprain.
Areas
In arms, elbows, wrists, hands, legs, ankles, foot, toe, etc.Ankle or wrist
Causes
Accidents, falls, sports injuries, osteoporosis, etc.Falling, hitting, twisting
Signs and Symptoms
Its signs and symptoms are affected area unable to move, swelling, pain, bruising, bent bone in unusual angle, and bone deformities, etc.Its signs and symptoms are affected joint unable to move, pain, swelling, bruising, etc.
Diagnosis
X-ray, MRI, Bone scan, CT scan, etcPain, swelling, redness, and numbness
Treatment
Casts or splintsRICE Therapy, which means rest, ice, compression, elevation.

What is Fracture?

Fracture is the cracking or breaking of any bone in the body. Bone can be converted into pieces as a result of a fracture. A fracture can be crosswise, lengthwise, or in many places of the body, which can be termed as multiple fractures.

In medical terms, the fractures that are caused by some diseases are called pathological fractures, which result in weakening of bones. Fractures can occur at any bone of the body, i.e., arms, legs, elbows, wrists, ankles, hands, foot, toes, etc. The extreme pressure or force on bone results in bone breaking, which is called a fracture.

Types

  • Simple Fracture: The fracture in which there is no open wound in the skin, and the bone is broken inside is called a simple fracture. A simple fracture can be in the form of transverse, greenstick, obstructed, oblique and comminuted fracture.
  • Compound Fracture: The type of fracture in which fragmented bone is evident through the skin and the open wound is on the skin is called a compound fracture.
  • Complete Fracture: When a bone breaks into two pieces or many pieces completely, then it is called a complete fracture of bones.
  • Incomplete Fracture: When a bone divides discontinuously, and pieces of bones are not completely shattered, then it is called incomplete fracture of bones. Greenstick fracture is an example of incomplete bone fracture.

Symptoms

  • Affected bone area unable to move
  • Pain
  • Bulging
  • Bruising
  • Deformity in the affected bone

Treatment

Fracture is treated by using plastic casts and splits.

What is Sprain?

The soft tissues that join bone to bone when suffering extreme pressure result in stretching, breaking, or twisting. This condition is called the sprain. When excessive force is applied at joints like ankle and wrist, a sprain is produced.

Causes

  • Falling can cause a sprain.
  • Striking or hitting can result in ligament damage resulting in a sprain.
  • Twisting or bending of ligaments can cause a sprain.

Symptoms

  • Aching
  • Puffiness
  • Bruising
  • Joint inability to move

Diagnosis

A sprain can be diagnosed by visiting health care professionals either by noticing the pain and swelling in the affected area or X-ray can also be advised in severe cases. Most sprains are diagnosed with pain and inflammation in affected areas. Redness and numbness in the affected soft tissued can also be noticed.

Treatment

In most cases, sprains can be recovered easily by themselves with time at home. In severe cases, physical therapy is required, and surgery can be requested too.

The best method to treat a sprain is RICE therapy, where R means rest, I means ice, C means compression, and E means elevation. These four steps can cure the sprain in the best and effective way.

Prevention

The tips and steps to prevent sprain are maintaining a properly balanced diet, avoid playing or extreme exercising during pain, and following safety measures during work or any physical activity. The adequate balanced diet helps make our muscles strong, and safety measures prevent further damaging of ligaments.

Key Differences

  1. Breaking or cracking of bones is called a fracture, whereas splinting and stretching of ligaments is called a sprain.
  2. When a bone breaks entirely or incompletely, it is described as a fracture. On the other hand, when a ligament that joins bone to bone bears extreme pressure and result in damaging the ligament, it is called a sprain.
  3. The fracture can occur in any bone in the body, i.e., hands, toes, legs, arms, wrists, ankles, foot, hands, or any other area of bone. In contrast, a sprain occurs only is ankles or wrists, sometimes in thumb too.
  4. A fracture can be caused by osteoporosis that is softening of bones due to deficiency of calcium and vitamin D, which are responsible for the hardening of bones. On the flip side, a sprain is not caused by osteoporosis.
  5. A fracture can be caused by some disease and termed as pathological fracture, whereas sprain cannot be caused by any disease.
  6. A fracture can be the result of automobile accidents, falls, or sports injuries. On the other hand, a sprain is caused by falling, hitting, or twisting of soft tissues or ligaments forming joints joining the bones.
  7. Fracture is accompanied by angulation, pain, swelling, inflammation, and bone deformity. On the flip side, a sprain is accompanied by pain, bulging, lumping, bruising, and inability to move.
  8. Fracture is diagnosed by an X-ray, CT scan, Bone scan, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). In contrast, a sprain can be diagnosed easily by noticing redness, swelling, and numbness in the affected area.
  9. Fracture is treated by plastic casts or metal splints, whereas sprain is treated in the best way by RICE therapy.
  10. Fracture takes 2-8 weeks in the recovery of bone, whereas sprain is recovered on itself within a week in most cases.

Conclusion

Fracture is breaking of bones, which is severe than sprain that is breaking or twisting of ligaments that join the bones.

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Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White