Fractures and breaks are among the most common sports injuries. But is there a difference between the two? These terms are actually interchangeable, so fractures and breaks are both orthopedic injuries that require immediate treatment. Here’s what you should know. 

Causes & Symptoms: How Do Fractures & Breaks Happen?

Fractures often happen due to trauma to the area. This is often the case with sports injuries. Falls, collisions, and stepping the wrong way during a sport can put sudden pressure on the bone and cause a break. Some fractures can also be attributed to overuse injuries, which occur after repetitive motion. These types of breaks are called stress fractures and are common in sports like baseball and tennis. 

While the specific symptoms of these injuries depend on the area of the body, there are a few common symptoms that likely indicate a fracture. These include swelling, bruising, pain, and tenderness. Some fractures will also have a visible deformity where the limb or joint seems out of place. If the break is an open fracture, the bone will be poking through the skin. 

It’s important to visit a sports injury clinic as soon as possible if you’re experiencing the symptoms of a fracture. While it can be tempting to wait to see if your symptoms subside, most fractures require immediate treatment for proper healing. 

Diagnostics & Treatment: What Can You Expect?

Once you arrive at a sports injury urgent care clinic, a doctor will assess the affected area for signs of a fracture. They will look for swelling, bruising, and bones that seem to be out of place. The doctor will likely recommend an x-ray to provide a more accurate diagnosis. While x-rays will show many fractures, an MRI may also be necessary if you have a hairline fracture or other small bone break. 

If the diagnostics show that your bone is broken, the doctor will choose the best treatment method for that particular fracture. Most fractures require immobilization. In this case, the doctor would fit you with a plaster or fiberglass cast. Functional casts or braces hold the bone in place while allowing some movement, but these aren’t enough for some types of fractures. 

Patients with open or complex fractures may need surgery. Orthopedic surgeons can put the bones into place surgically, often placing pins or screws to help the area heal. Healing time will depend on the location and severity of the fracture. While some heal within weeks, others will require several months. Physical therapy may also be necessary to help you regain mobility of the joint. Your orthopedic doctor can tell you what to expect from your treatment and recovery. 

Whether you call it a fracture or a break, the team at Sport Ortho Urgent Care can treat it. Our sports injury clinic provides in-house diagnostics, as well as casting, bracing, and splinting. With locations in Hendersonville, Mt. Juliet, and Murfreesboro, TN, we accept most insurance plans. While we do accept walk-ins, you can also call us or use our online booking system to schedule an appointment. 

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