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Broken arm or sprain, what’s the difference?


Could you tell if you have a broken arm or sprain? Perhaps surprisingly, it can be very difficult to figure out which injury you have. A broken arm occurs when one or more bones are broken, or fractured. A sprain, meanwhile, refers to an injury to the ligaments in the arm. Strains usually indicate the ligaments have been torn, sometimes partially and sometimes completely.

Therefore, people with a break or a sprain will exhibit similar symptoms of pain, swelling, bruising, and an inability to move the arm. Sometimes, a break can be seen if it is a bad one, even if the bones do not come through the skin. However, it is often true that you cannot tell whether a bone has been broken.


Focusing on the wrist

Sprains generally occur around joints. Turning your ankle over is likely to put you at risk of spraining the ligaments on the outside of the ankle, for example. Therefore, in the case of your arm, an injury around your wrist is most likely to give rise to the question of whether you have a broken arm or sprain.

If you aren’t sure what you have done, and you cannot easily move the affected arm, do make sure you see your GP or visit a nearby casualty or minor injuries unit. Quite often, the only way to find out what you have done is to have an x-ray. You can then be treated for either a sprain or a fracture.


Was a third party the trigger for you suffering a broken arm or sprain?

Sometimes, we have accidents we only have ourselves to blame for. At other times, though, other people might be to blame. Did someone cause you to have a road accident that led to you questioning whether you had a broken arm or sprain? Were you knocked over as a pedestrian, or did you trip and fall while catching your foot in a pothole you didn’t see?

If something like this led to your injuries, do get expert legal advice today from Accident Advice Helpline. Take the test provided on our website in a mere 30 seconds, call free on 0800 689 5659. Just be sure you contact us within three years of your injury, to ensure there is still time to claim.