Difference between sprains, fractures, broken bones

By Julia Sparco

Elm Staff Writer

Injuries like sprains, fractured bones, and broken bones are common in sports. But each of these injuries is different and requires different healing processes. 

According to Merriam-Webster, a sprain is “a sudden or violent twist or wrench of a joint with stretching or tearing of ligaments,” while a fractured bone “tears soft tissue” in the bone and a broken bone fully splits the bone. 

A fracture and a break both occur in the bone, but a fracture is a smaller break.

According to Premier Orthopedics, if the pain sensation is experienced around the soft tissue and not in the bone, it is most likely a sprain. Pain in the bone indicates a break. If someone can still move the affected limb, it is most likely sprained, but if they cannot it is likely broken.

The best way to know what type of injury you have and how to heal it is to get checked out by a doctor. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, bone injuries can be found through use of an X-ray, but since fractures are thinner breaks, almost hair-like, they can be hard to spot even by a medical professional. 

Washington College student-athletes also always have the option of visiting the athletic trainers on campus as well.

“I had a sprained ankle my freshman year and I would just say the RICE method is key,” senior captain of the WC women’s volleyball team Izzy Sansanelli said. “Also, listen to your trainers. They are trained and are here to help all of those who need help with injury, so I was lucky to have them.”

After a correct diagnosis, you can begin your healing process. 

According to Head WC Athletic Trainer Matt An, the RICE method — which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation — is important for recovering in all types of injuries. 

An recommends 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for icing to get the best results.

“I’ve had sprains, tears, and pulls, but never broken anything,” junior WC men’s baseball player Trevor Fredrick said. “Rest is a big thing, along with ice, rehab, and/or physical therapy if you need it to come back.”

According to Premier Orthopedics, sprains, fractures, and breaks can be treated with a brace to stabilize the joint. Depending on how severe and where the injury is located, crutches might also be required. 

It is important for athletes to remember that following the guidelines that medical professionals give them to heal is essential. If they do not properly take care of their injuries, it can cause problems in their bodies later in life. 

“I made sure to listen to my body to know I was injured, but I continued working out up until my surgery date since the doctor said I could,” sophomore WC trap and skeet player Emma Smith said. “Then after surgery, I followed what the doctors told me to do to heal properly.”

One thought on “Difference between sprains, fractures, broken bones

  1. Julia, you were informative! Athletes frequently suffer from muscular sprains, fractures, and broken bones. A fracture, in my opinion, is a significant injury that indicates a crack in your bone. A sprain, on the other hand, is soft tissue damage. Sprains occur when the ligaments that surround your joint either strain or rip. This can occur for a variety of reasons, including an accident or a sports injury.

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