Know the Difference between a Fracture and a Break

The NFL preseason is officially underway after the August 3 Hall of Fame game. Fans can enjoy the hype and thrill of watching the games, while everyone else settles in for months of hearing about stats and injury lists. Football is hard on the body, particularly the lower limbs, so that list can get long. Some injuries sound worse than others, such as a break versus a fracture. No one seems to be able to tell which of those is which, however. So what’s the difference between a fracture and a break?

The truth is that there isn’t one. “Fracture” is a medical term meaning a crack or break in the hard bone tissue that disrupts a bone’s structure. So whether our staff here at Sierra Foot & Ankle tell you that you have a fracture or a break in your lower limbs, you have the same problem. The injury could be a relatively small one, like a stress fracture, or a serious one, like a displaced break. However big or small the damage is, you need to have it properly treated to allow the bone to heal. This will mean immobilizing the limb and protecting it.

For small fractures, like little cracks in a toe, you may just need to tape the painful area and wear comfortable shoes. Larger fractures may need to be aligned—and on occasion, surgically pinned together—before being casted to allow them to recover. Once your foot has healed, you may need some physical therapy to help restore strength and range of motion to your lower limbs.

So if anyone tries to tell you one of these is worse or better than the other, you know the real difference between a fracture and a break—there isn’t one! No matter how your diagnosis is worded, you need to take good care of your injured bones. Let Sierra Foot & Ankle help you. Call (775) 783-8037 or submit a request online to reach us.

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