Foot Fracture vs. Foot Sprain: What Are the Main Differences?

June 21, 2021
Foot Fracture vs. Foot Sprain: What Are the Main Differences?

Foot sprains and fractures can be difficult to know or feel the difference in. Both are painful. Sometimes a sprained foot is even more painful than a fracture. Because of this, foot fractures can be misdiagnosed as a sprain and mistreated.

How do you know if you’re dealing with a break? The best advice is to not try to figure it out yourself. Go to a doctor, hospital, or emergency room. Diablo Foot & Ankle provides expert treatment every step of the way after a foot sprain or fracture.

Sprained Foot Signs

A sprain is a soft tissue injury while a fracture is a break in a bone. Similar symptoms make guessing at the difference tough. Pain, swelling, discoloration, and inability to put weight on the foot are signs of a sprain. Those same symptoms are true of a fracture.

Rest, ice, elevation, and over-the-counter medication could be enough to handle a sprain. A more serious sprain might need a hospital visit, crutches, surgery, and rehab.

Signs of Fractures in the Foot

The human foot is complex and intricate. It has 26 bones, 107 ligaments, 33 joints, and 19 muscles. If you think your foot could be fractured, it’s time to get expert help.

Some breaks can puncture the skin or cause a deformity of the foot or leg. Pain and/or numbness in more than only the injured spot is a sign of a probable fracture. Discoloration, a constant cold feeling, and a loss of movement or ability to bear weight are signs as well. Intolerable pain even after medicine and swelling even after ice or lasting more than a day or two mean it's likely a fracture.

It’s possible to get a fever with a foot fracture, as your body is responding to an infection at the point of the break. Broken bones can grind together and cause more pain and injury. If home-care methods such as ice, elevation, rest, and medication make no progress, it’s likely a foot fracture.

Complications in a Foot Fracture

It’s critical you and your doctor know about preexisting conditions. Some factors can make a fracture harder to find or more important to treat correctly. People with diabetes or spinal cord injuries might not notice the pain from a fracture in an extremity.

If untreated or treated poorly, a fracture can lead to a non-union of the healing bones or area. A fracture can also injure ligaments, tendons, or joints near the initial injury. Fractures can lead to arthritis. Infections, to a wound site or a bone, can cause major complications up to a need for amputation. A break can also injure nerves and blood vessels, creating numbness or a lack of circulation leading to other injuries or a need for amputation.

Knowledge and Care at Diablo Foot & Ankle

Medical care as soon as possible for a fracture or a sprained foot can save you from complications and a longer road to recovery. Learn more about foot and ankle injuries at Diablo Foot & Ankle. Our specialists know the importance of quality, caring treatment. To read more about Dr. Elmi’s expertise, check out our website.

Give us a call today at (925) 464-1982 to set up an appointment in Oakland, Walnut Creek, or Antioch. We are here to help!