Breaks & Sprains

Since it’s hard to tell the difference between breaks and sprains, treat the injury like a break until you can get an x-ray, and do the following:  splint and support injury with pillows and blankets, so it doesn’t move; apply ice (wrapped in a towel) to reduce swelling; and elevate injured part (if possible) to reduce swelling.  These steps will definitely help ease the patient’s mind.

Some common signs for both breaks and sprains include:  bruising, pain with movement, swelling and tenderness.  Signs for an actual break include:


  • Bone protruding from skin
  • Limb is in an unnatural position (deformity)
  • Grinding, cracking, or snapping noise
  • Unable to use limb
  • Unable to walk
  • Movement in limb where there is no joint