5 Difference Between Fracture and Sprain with Table

What is the difference between fracture and sprain?

Many people usually find it difficult to tell the difference between an ankle sprain and a fracture. Let’s find out more about the difference between sprain and fracture symptoms in this article.

The main difference between fracture and sprain is that the former is an injury to the bone and it usually hurts while the latter is the stretching or tearing of the ligament and the pain varies depending on the degree.

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difference between fracture and sprain

Comparison Table (Fracture vs Sprain)

Basic Terms Fracture Sprain
Meaning It is a broken bone in the arm, elbow, foot, toe, and hand It refers to the stretching or tearing of ligaments
Symptoms Severe swelling on top of the bone

Bruising over the bone

Deformity of the injured area

Inability to use the injured limb

Pain due to pressure application

Bone poking through the skin

Pain around the injured spot

Swelling around the area

Mild bruising around the injured spot

Limited motion range in the affected joint

Audible sound when the injury occurs

Causes Accident

Sport injuries

Bone weakening




Diagnosis X-Ray


Bone Scan

CT scan




Treatment Cast or splint Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation

What Is a Fracture?

A fracture is a crack, splinter, and complete break of one or more bones. The condition usually occurs as a result of trauma to the body during a car accident.

A pathological factor is a medical condition that causes the weakening of bones. The condition makes the bone break into pieces, lengthwise, crosswise, and in many places in the body.

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Types of Fractures

Simple fractures

It is also known as closed fractures. It is a fracture that does not result in an open wound but bones are broken. Examples of simple fractures are Transverse, Greenstick, Impacted, Oblique, and Comminuted.

Compound Fractures

It is also called open fractures. The condition results in an open wound and broken bones that are visible from the skin.

Complete Fractures

It is a complete breakage of bones whether into pieces or two. The condition is usually caused by a serious car accident or involving any other automobile accident.

Incomplete Fractures

It is a fracture that occurs in long bones due to the discontinuation of bones. An example of an incomplete fracture is a Greenstick fracture.


Health care professionals examine the signs and symptoms of fractures using X-ray, MRI, and CT. These instruments provide clear information on the degree of bone breakage.


Healing of fractures usually takes two to eight weeks and it occurs naturally. The patient is advised to consider bed rest and keep the fractured part immobilized.

Treatment of the fracture can be done through plaster cast, metal plates, screws, intramedullary nails, and extra fixators. Consider a diet rich in calcium to foster faster healing.

Primary sources of calcium are milk, cheese, and green leafy vegetables. Also, any source of vitamin D is highly commendable.

Women at menopause usually experience low calcium levels in the body. It would be best to increase the intake to avoid the weakening of the bones.

What Is a Sprain?

It occurs when the ligaments get torn, twisted, or stretched. Sprains occur when excessive force is applied around the ankles, wrist, and even thumb.

A health care professional will use an X-ray to examine and diagnose the sprain. The patient is likely to experience swellings and pain around the affected part.

The good news is that sprain can be treated at home. The patients need to consider apply RICE therapy. Extreme cases might involve professional medical doctors.

A sprain can be prevented by keeping muscle strong, avoid intense exercises, regular physical exercises, and a properly balanced diet.

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Main Difference between Fracture and Sprain

  1. Fracture is the breaking of bones whereas sprain is the stretching of ligaments.
  2. The fracture can happen on any part of the bone whereas sprain occurs only around joints.
  3. Fractures occur due to road accidents, sports injuries, and osteoporosis whereas sprain occurs due to falling, hitting, or twisting.
  4. A sprain can be treated by RICE therapy while fracturing by plastered cast or splint

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Fracture be Mistaken for a Sprain?

Absolutely. A sprain is more painful and can easily be confused to fracture. But the pain usually occurs around the affected area.

Can You Walk on a Hairline Fracture?

Not really. Doctors recommend either taking bed rest or use crutches to keep weight off the injured foot. The healing of the hairline usually takes about six to eight weeks.

How Long Does a Sprain Last?

Most strains and sprains take about two weeks to start healing. The patient needs to take eight weeks free from doing strenuous exercises. Keep in mind that severe strains and sprains might take up to a month to heal.

Can You Still Walk on a Sprained Foot?

Absolutely. But ensure the sprained foot does not hurt. Patients are usually giving a splint or immobilizer to make it easy to walk on a sprained foot.

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In Conclusion

Fractures and sprains are inevitable in a lifetime of a person. People need to take extra care and consider a properly balanced diet and regular exercise.

Both fractures and sprains result in severe pain. The patient needs to take bed rest for proper healing and safety measures after healing.

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