We often get patients coming into the practice with acute injuries to their ankles, fingers and sometimes toes wanting to know, is it broken, or just a sprain?
So is it possible for a physiotherapist to tell whether it is broken or just sprained by assessing you? Well, although we do not have x-ray vision, we can assess your injury and figure out whether a fracture is likely or not. We can also provide you with an x-ray referral to help confirm your diagnosis, and of course, advise you on how to best manage your injury.
Most patients still believe that sprain is better or less serious than a break, which in some instances is true, but not always the case. Your bones have a rich blood supply and thus a good healing potential in most cases. Ligaments, tendons and other soft tissues do not always have a good blood supply and can require more time and careful management than broken bones.
There are usually some differences in the management of sprains and fractures so diagnosis is still very important. In most circumstances, fractures require a period of immobilization, whilst soft tissue sprains may be encouraged to get moving more quickly. If the fracture is not immobilized then it can fail to heal properly resulting in ongoing problems.
Listed below are some symptoms of fractures or broken bones. Symptoms can depend on the location and severity of the break. Some of them are similar to the symptoms of severe sprains so as always it is best to consult your physiotherapist. Proper rehabilitation is important regardless of your injury.
- Pain- usually persistent even at rest
- Inability to use limb/body part