What is the difference between a sprain and a fracture?

A sprain and a fracture can both be painful, debilitating injuries, but they affect different structures. A sprain is damage to connective tissues called ligaments. These are fibrous bands that connect bones to other bones, so they stay in the right places. Ligaments have a limited range in which they can stretch. If they are forced beyond that point, the tissue is damaged and suffers a sprain. In the lower limbs, this is most common in the ankle.

A fracture is any kind of break in your bone tissue. This can range from a thin crack due to overuse, also known as a stress fracture, to multiple displaced bones, which can happen in a serious accident. Depending on the severity of the injury and its location, these two problems can feel similar. You need a complete exam, and probably diagnostic images like X-rays, to determine which condition you have so you can get the best treatment. Let our team at Parker Foot & Ankle help with your injury. Make an appointment online, or call us directly at (281) 497-2850.

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.