Author Topic: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?  (Read 20470 times)

Offline Libby

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How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« on: November 30, 2006, 12:12:04 PM »
My 4 year old stepped on my 2 year old's pinkie finger this morning (barefoot on the bed). He cried way more than the average but to be honest I didn't even look closely at it till after lunch.  I figured how bad can it be since they were on the bed?  Well its swollen and discolored and he's favoring it quite a bit...does anyone know how long I can wait and see if it gets better or is broken or how to tell?

Offline Mrs. Dugger

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2006, 01:14:21 PM »
I am not sure if this would work for you, but our chiropractor uses a tuning-fork type device to see if we have a fracture.  She says if the vibrations hurt, you have a facture.  Maybe that is something you can try? 

Offline ShabbyChic

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2006, 03:42:24 PM »
I'd say that the crying factor would tell you, but at 18 mos. my nephew broke his fibula and didn't cry too much, he just insisted on sitting on the sofa and not moving (VERY unlike himself).  My poor SIL didn't take him to the doctor for 3 days.  She felt like a heel.  But he barely cried.

When I broke both my collar bones at age 6 and when I broke all 3 bones in my left arm at age 12, I cried enough to make Sally Field envious.

Swollen and discolored meant a broken for me.  But since there was nothing they could do except tape broken toes, it was a wasted trip to the doctor.  I'm not sure what they'd do for a broken finger besides tape it, especially when it is such a tiny little 2 year-old pinky. 

At the drugstore they have metal splints for fingers/toes with foam inside, and then you just tape it straight.  It really hurts, but you don't have to be a rocket scientist to set a finger or toe.  When I broke my toe the second time, I set it myself.  Just make sure he gets some tylenol and TLC.  He's so young it will heal in no time.
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Offline healthybratt

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2006, 08:17:24 PM »
With an X-ray?   ::)  I've broken my foot and 2 of my toes and I would never have known it, had I not had an X-ray.
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Offline Mama Sita

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2006, 01:51:21 AM »
Swollen and discolored is a pretty good indicator of a broken bone, but of course, nothing confirms that except an x-ray.

I can tell you what we have done in the past: used popsicle sticks on either side of the 'hurt' finger, then tape that finger to the one next to it. Somehow all that doctoring really makes little ones feel better, especially if they are sure they have 'broken' their finger. (If was much more serious, I'd certainly take them in to see a doc.) After a couple of days, they're as good as new!  :)



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Offline Libby

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2006, 05:09:33 PM »
Thanks guys, he's much better today so I'm assuming its not broken.  Its still swollen but he hasn't mentioned it or favored it today.

Offline ShabbyChic

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2006, 05:41:24 PM »
Cool. 
That's Shabby SHEIK not Shabby CHICK.  Hee-hee.

Offline amandamook

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2008, 07:06:21 AM »
My 3 year old fell yesterday while pushing the merry-go-round at the park. When she fell another little boy fell on top of her. My DD is sometimes an overreacter so she cried a lot. She refused to get up and play. She actually layed in the dirt and cried. I ignored her b/c she was throwing a fit. I carried her from the car to her bed when we got home. She cried most of the night.

She is sitting on the couch now. She refuses to get up or to put any weight on her left ankle. It does not look swollen and I can't see any bruising. She cries when I touch the ankle or shin. She inside part of her ankle and lower calf feels hot, maybe a little feverish.

It is Saturday. I am visiting my parents in a different state. I didn't bring my insurance card so I hate to go to an emergency care clinic if I don't have to.

Could it be a sprain (without swelling)?
Could it be a deep bruise?
Would wrapping it in an Ace bandage help?
How do the rest of you know when your young children are overreacting?

Offline amandamook

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2008, 08:07:26 AM »
Update: she now has some light bruising directly on the ankle bone (inside). Would arnica oil help? I'm thinking of using an ace bandage but I don't want to wrap it if it will make the bruise worse. Any thoughts?

Offline Maria/NHM

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2008, 08:10:17 AM »
I've never used arnica oil but I have used arnica gel. It really helps with bruising. I've also used a slice of a raw onion held on with an ace bandage. My husband sprained his ankle really badly and we felt like the arnica and onion really helped.
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Offline amandamook

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2008, 09:55:52 AM »
Thanks Ella! I went to the health food store with my dad and bought some arnica cream. They didn't have arnica oil like I keep at home. The cream will probably travel better in my suitcase anyway. (I hate to think of a broken oil bottle in my suitcase. Yuck.)

My dad also suggested giving her black cherry concentrate to drink. It reduces inflammation. I just gave her the black cherry concentrate. I mixed it with grape juice and water to improve the taste. She's drinking her second glass now.

I'll update to tell if the black cherry and arnica help. Any more ideas are always appreciated.

Offline HelpmeetPlusHelpers

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2008, 10:03:22 AM »
 :) We have no advice, but we are praying for all of you. We hope that you get home safely and soon.  ;)

Offline jhandrh

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2008, 03:43:26 PM »
This may have been said already--I didn't have time to read through the whole thread--but unless you have an x ray you can't tell the difference between a break and a sprain.  I have had nasty sprains that I ouched more from than my friend who walked around on a broken foot for several weeks before finally getting an x ray.  And when I worked as an EMT I hauled more than one little old lady who was walking around on what turned out to be a broken hip.  Breaks bruise, sprains bruise.  Sometimes with a break you hear it snap, but sometimes you don't. Sometimes there is deformity with a sprain (although that's a pretty good indication that it could be broken.), and often there can be a break without a visible deformity.  Unless you see a bone poking through the skin (that's a real good indication it's broken  ;D) or there's an extra knee or elbow that shouldn't be there  ::) it's just really hard to know.
all joking aside, I hope you get some relief for your daughter.  I would probably wrap it to give it support--unless you wrap it too tightly an ace wrap shouldn't hurt anything.  You could splint it in a small pillow if she doesn't like the ace bandage alone.  You can also put ice on it for about 20 min at a time if she will tolerate it--just make sure to wrap the icepack in a towel or pillowcase so you don't give the skin frostbite.  I would do those things until you can get her somewhere where you can get an x ray.

Offline amandamook

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2008, 04:11:01 PM »
Thanks jhandrh. I think you are right. We are going to take her to a walk in clinic tomorrow if she does not seriously improve tonight. She is still refusing to stand or walk at all. She even refuses to have me hold her b/c she fears that I will not be careful enough (she's probably right. she knows I'm a klutz). My parents just ran out to get Children's Tylenol since I never keep it around. I wrapped the ankle in an ace bandage and that seems to help. I got arnica cream to reduce the bruising but she is serious about not letting me touch it. It really is painful to the touch. My mom accidently brushed her hand aganist it when DD could not even see her foot and DD cried out in pain.

What a way to finish up our vacation.  :P

Offline jhandrh

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2008, 11:05:28 AM »
Ooooh, :'( how lousy.  but maybe God allowed it to happen to keep you from something worse...one time when I was frustrated with myself for something dumb I did and got us very, very, lost, my dh said, "shut up already.  Maybe there was a drunk coming the other way and being lost was a lot better than what would have happened if we wouldn't have gotten lost."  So I hope you had a good rest of your vacation and I know that God has some reason for letting this happen.  :)  hope she heals quickly.

Offline amandamook

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2008, 02:39:19 PM »
You are probably right jhandrh. God protects us in ways we will never know.

Well, a friend of my parents looked at DD's foot after church this morning. She is a pediatric nurse at a children's hospital. She said it was probably fractured because:

a. she was guarding it. She would not move it herself but would lift it to reposition herself. She would not let others touch it. She voluntarily stayed seated and would not put weight on it.

b. it was swollen. It was not swollen Friday or Saturday but it was a little more swollen today.

c. when you ran your hand along the skin, the nurse could feel a tiny bump or nick along the bone. I'm not sure that an untrained person would have been able to feel it.

When took her to the children's hospital and it was broken. Her tibula is broken just above the ankle, which is why I thought it was a sprained ankle. The break was still lined up, they did not have to move the bones to set it. This is probably why the swelling and bruising was minimal. They put on a temporary cast and we will have a full cast put on when we return home in a few days.

So, pray for me as I fly alone with three children under four, two whom cannot walk.

Offline jhandrh

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2008, 03:05:25 PM »
Thanks for posting--I was wondering how she was doing.  Sounds like you will have your hands full--I'll pray that you meet up with lots of friendly helpful people on your trip home. :)  God bless!

Offline kper

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2008, 02:43:04 PM »
DH fell from our van today down the embankment of the highway. He says it's not broken, but the top of his foot is bruised and scraped, even though he was wearing tennis shoes and socks.  He can only put a little pressure on it, and even that hurts. It hurts whenever anyone brushes past it. Any ideas, helpful tidbits, anything? We're doing elevation, ice, Advil and when we can find them, crutches. We'd like to avoid the ER.
Thanks!
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Offline grocerygetter

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2008, 03:12:46 PM »
DH fell from our van today down the embankment of the highway. He says it's not broken, but the top of his foot is bruised and scraped, even though he was wearing tennis shoes and socks.  He can only put a little pressure on it, and even that hurts. It hurts whenever anyone brushes past it. Any ideas, helpful tidbits, anything? We're doing elevation, ice, Advil and when we can find them, crutches. We'd like to avoid the ER.
Thanks!

You could get some homeopathic treatments to help at your health food store, if that's an option. Is his skin in the area white? Sometimes that can mean a break.

Offline herbalmom

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2008, 06:07:19 PM »
Walgreen's used to loan crutches with a $20 deposit. I don't know if they still do but checking around at pharmacies might find you one that does loans.

As far as healing, try this thread:

Major Car Accident! Need herbal advise please!

HTH Blessings ~herbalmom



DH fell from our van today down the embankment of the highway. He says it's not broken, but the top of his foot is bruised and scraped, even though he was wearing tennis shoes and socks.  He can only put a little pressure on it, and even that hurts. It hurts whenever anyone brushes past it. Any ideas, helpful tidbits, anything? We're doing elevation, ice, Advil and when we can find them, crutches. We'd like to avoid the ER.
Thanks!


Offline kper

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Re: How do you tell the difference between a break and a sprain?
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2008, 12:36:52 PM »
DH fell from our van today down the embankment of the highway. He says it's not broken, but the top of his foot is bruised and scraped, even though he was wearing tennis shoes and socks.  He can only put a little pressure on it, and even that hurts. It hurts whenever anyone brushes past it. Any ideas, helpful tidbits, anything? We're doing elevation, ice, Advil and when we can find them, crutches. We'd like to avoid the ER.
Thanks!


UPDATE:

It was a bad sprain that tightened the ligament so much that it chipped a bone on top of his foot. He has a fracture and is now in a ankle boot for 6-8 weeks. :o
" Elections belong to the people. It is their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters." 

Abraham Lincoln