how do you tell the difference between a sprain or a break

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Dr. Ankur Dharia answered:

Can you tell the difference between a sprain and a break in the wrist an Xray?

Yes you can

Wristfracture1_c
In x-rays, a break will generally show as an interruption in the cortex of the bone, with displacement or not. A sprain generally indicates an injury to soft tissues such as ligaments, fascia or tendon, which does not show up on x-ray. Occasionally, a severe sprain may be associated with an avulsion fracture where a ligament actually pulls at its attachment to bone and "avulses".
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Dr. Alan Ettinger answered:

Is there a way to tell the difference between an ankle sprain or break without an x-ray?

No

Ankle_sprain
need an X-ray to confirm a Fracture
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Need advice on what is the the difference between a sprain and a break?

Sprain vs break

Sprains_and_strains
A sprain is caused by damage done to the ligaments of the body. A break is a bone injury. A strain is caused by damage to a tendon.
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how can you tell the difference between Osteoarthritis vs lumbar sprain ?

OA

Mri
imaging such as X-rays or MRI can help.
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Dr. Eran Kessous answered:

How to tell the difference between a muscle tear and a sprain with regards to your ankle?

Muscle vs ligament

Muscle
There are no muscles in the ankle joint/apparatus. There are only ligaments and tendons immediately around the ankle. Ligaments and tendons can tear partially or completely rupture. A "sprain" refers to LIGAMENT or a TENDON injury, and a "strain" refers to a MUSCLE ingury. Regarding the ANKLE: considering what I stated above, there is no strain, only SPRAIN.
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Can you tell me how can u know the difference between a torn muscle and a sprain?

Sprain implies a

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ligament injury. A torn muscle can be a strain which is essentially a stretch just beyond the normal elastic recoil with resultant injury while a true TEAR of a muscle means usually that the muscle unit is grossly disrupted similar to when a laceration occurs. A ligament sprain can be partial grade 1 stretch, grade 2 which implies stretch beyond elastic limit or a rupture ( grade 3)
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How to tell difference between wrist sprain and fracture?

Exam and imaging

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wrist fractures may seen on standard X-rays and additional studies such as bone scan or MRI may be helpful Sprains may be postivie finding in that here is no fracture but bones may be out of linel. A careful history and exam is also very important as you correctly implied it can be confusing so seek out so called experts such as a hand surgeon or orthopedic surgeon who specializes in han
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How to tell difference between carpal bone fracture and sprain?

By X-ray

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both will have pain swelling , loss of function X-ray will differentiate one from other .
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Dr. Michael Korona answered:

How to tell difference between finger fracture or just a sprain?

X-ray

Forearm_fracture
.
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Dr. Mehul A. Desai answered:

What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?

Different

Muscle
Sprains affect ligaments and connective tissue Strains affect muscles
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