Useful Tips

How to distinguish a fracture from a bruise? Description of symptoms


You can get injured literally at every step. Both adults and children are at risk. It doesn’t matter if you are involved in a traumatic sport or just go to the kitchen to drink water - one awkward movement can lead to bruising, sprains or fractures. Therefore, you need to know how to deal with the victim in different situations. The algorithm of first aid is directly dependent on the type of injury. But an inexperienced person does not always manage to correctly recognize the type of damage.

How can a fracture be distinguished from a bruise? This is one of the most difficult questions for those who are learning to provide first aid. Let's try to find the answer.

What is a bruise?

A bruise is an internal damage to tissues or organs that is not accompanied by a violation of the integrity of the skin. This type of injury may result from a fracture, dislocation or sprain.

A bruise appears as a result of a fall or a strong blow. Soft tissues and organs located on the injured area suffer. A hematoma is formed at the site of the impact - an accumulation of liquid or clotted blood. If the bruise of the arm or leg was severe, the tissues around the bruise leak, disrupting the mobility of the limb.

What is a fracture?

Fracture - a complete or partial violation of the integrity of the bone or cartilage. It is accompanied by trauma to surrounding tissues: muscles, skin, blood vessels, nerve endings. Fractures can occur for two reasons:

  • due to the impact on the bone of external forces that can disrupt the strength of the skeleton,
  • with a slight injury, if a person suffers from a disease that changes the structure of bone tissue.

Fracture can be open or closed. In case of an injury of the first type, the skin is injured, severe bleeding appears. Damaged bone is visible on the surface. With an injury of the second type, the skin remains intact, there is no external bleeding. A hematoma may appear.

Symptoms of bruising and closed fracture are very similar. At first glance, both injuries have no distinguishing features except a bruise. Therefore, people have the question: "How to distinguish a fracture from a bruise?"

Learning to distinguish a fracture from a bruise

Understanding how to distinguish a fracture from a bruise is not as difficult as it might seem. The main symptoms:

  1. If a person has a fracture, pain makes itself felt for several hours. May intensify over time. With a bruise, the pain gradually subsides.
  2. With a fracture, edema of the damaged area increases by 2-3 days. With a bruise, it appears immediately after an impact.
  3. If the integrity of the bone in the limb is damaged, it is impossible to perform motor activity due to the appearance of severe pain. For example, when a hand is injured, you cannot clench your fist. If the leg is damaged, it is not possible to fully straighten it.
  4. In a fracture with a displacement of the bone, the limb may be deformed. It may also change its length compared to healthy.

To understand what type of injury a person has, it is necessary to put pressure on the damaged area in the longitudinal direction. If an arm or leg is affected, ask the patient to carefully move the support onto it. With a fracture, sharp pain will appear in the damaged area.

If you cannot independently determine what type of injury the victim has, do not try to provide first aid. It’s better to wait until the doctor arrives.

How to distinguish a fracture from a bruised finger?

It is not so simple to understand by external signs what type of injury the victim has. And with a closed fracture, and with a bruise, the same symptoms appear:

  • swelling appears on the affected area,
  • the skin turns blue,
  • the injured area hurts.

You can distinguish a little finger fracture from a bruise by the following signs:

  • the length of the damaged phalanx has changed,
  • a constant sharp pain is felt in the finger,
  • palpation can detect bone deformation.

With a bruise, pain in the finger will occur during motor activity. In a couple of days it will pass. If the patient has a fracture, pain will only increase with time. Puffiness will also become stronger.

How to distinguish a fracture from a bruise yourself? Practical experience is important here. There is always a chance that a person without a medical education will make a mistake. Therefore, do not treat yourself.

It will be useful to visit the hospital and undergo an X-ray examination to get an accurate diagnosis.

Fracture or bruise of a toe - how to understand?

One can distinguish a little finger fracture from a bruise by the same signs as the type of damage to the phalanx of the arm. Constant pain appears, which becomes unbearable in a few days. Swelling is gradually increasing. The finger is getting shorter. When feeling, you can find a protrusion of the bone. If the fracture is displaced, severe deformation of the finger will be noticeable.

With a bruised toe, it will be difficult for the victim to transfer the support to the injured limb. As in the case of a bruise of the phalanx on the arm, with motor activity, acute pain will appear, which will quickly pass if the treatment is carried out correctly.

We figured out how to distinguish a fracture from a bruised toe or arm. Now we find out how to provide first aid.

Actions with a bruised limb

First aid can be provided by following the algorithm below:

  • apply a cold compress or ice wrapped in cloth to the injury site,
  • if there is damage to the skin, treat the wound with an antiseptic and apply a bandage,
  • with severe pain, anesthetics are taken.

Bruise is treated with special anti-inflammatory ointments. They relieve swelling, promote resorption of the hematoma and relieve pain. The recovery period after a bruise lasts 7-14 days.

If the hematoma that forms after a stroke does not pass for a long time, it is recommended to consult a doctor. In rare cases, surgery is required to cope with the disease.

How to help with a broken finger?

First aid for a fracture is of great importance for further treatment. It is important not to aggravate the situation. First of all, with a closed fracture of the finger, it must be immobilized. For this, a tire is made from improvised materials. A pen, an ice cream stick, a twig will do. The tire is applied on the inside of the finger and fixed with a sterile bandage or any other tissue.

If the fracture is open, it is necessary to treat the wound with an antiseptic: Chlorhexidine, hydrogen peroxide, Miramistin. When bleeding, a gauze dressing or cotton swab is applied to the damaged area. Then fix the injured finger. To relieve a pain symptom, "Analgin", "Ketanov", "Nurofen" are used.

If a fracture occurs, be sure to consult a doctor. It is impossible to cope with such an injury on your own.

You have learned how to distinguish a fracture from a bruise. We got acquainted with the technique of first aid for injuring a finger on an arm or leg. Following the instructions, you can easily help the victim. But if you are not confident in your abilities, you should not touch the injured limb. Improper first aid will only aggravate the patient's condition.