‘Tis the season for unexpected sprains, strains and fractures. As winter weather continues to blanket much of the U.S., icy or slick pavement can turn a quick trip to the store into a trip to your local urgent care.
Learn the differences between sprains, strains and fractures
A sprain is an injury to a ligament, a strain is an injury to a muscle, and a fracture is an injury to a bone. However, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them, especially if you’re outside and your limbs are cold or numb.
If you aren’t feeling better, or start to notice significant swelling within the first 24-48 hours, it’s time to get urgent medical care to avoid further complications.
Both sprains and strains can cause swelling and pain. They may also cause difficulty with mobility and bearing weight on the affected limb. Sprains are most common in the fingers, wrists, ankles and knees. Fractures, however, are typically found in the bigger bones of the arms and legs.
Symptoms of a sprain or fracture
The symptoms of sprains and fractures are very similar. Here is a quick cheat sheet to help you identify whether you are suffering from a strain, sprain or fracture:
- Strains are an abnormal stretching or tearing of muscle tissue or tendons (the tissue that connects muscles to the bone). Tendons and muscles work together to help the body move.
- Sprains are an abnormal stretching or tearing of a ligament or tissue that connects two bones. These ligaments are used to stabilize and support your joints.
- Fractures are a small crack, splinter or complete break in the bone or cartilage. Cartilage is a firm but flexible connective tissue that provides support for the bones so they can safely bear weight.
If you’ve recently slipped or fallen and are experiencing pain, swelling or discomfort for more than 24-48 hours, visit State Urgent Care for prompt treatment. Our physicians and medical assistants are available daily from 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. for walk-in treatment of sprains, strains and fractures.