Do you remember that scene in Harry Potter when he breaks his arm playing Quidditch? It looks painful, but there’s nothing much to see from the outside.
In the beginning, there aren’t many visual signs of a broken bone. Most breaks don’t come through the skin in a dramatic way.
Learn the five signs of a broken bone in this article, visual wound or not.
Signs of a Broken Bone
If you’ve never broken a bone before, all you know is that it’s painful and causes issues with mobility. Learn what’s under that cast you’re signing in this article.
Depending on the location of the break, the severity, and how quickly after it happened sometimes pain is the only symptom of a break.
The pain from a broken bone is different than a bruise or a sprain, people describe it as a deep ache.
Pay attention to the pain level of the person, ask them to rate it on a scale of one to ten.
If they say it’s a ten, ask them to compare it to another pain they’ve had. “Is this better or worse than when you bumped your head?”
Don’t assume anyone’s exaggerating the pain and take them to the hospital. Even if it’s a fracture and not a full break, they need medical attention.
Sometimes you can tell when someone breaks something because it’s a weird shape.
Imagine if someone breaks their wrist, their hand would be floppy and heavy-looking. That’s a good sign something’s going on.
In other locations, you may see a large bump or swelling under the skin. This could be the bone’s post-break position.
Compare the injured body part to the other leg/arm or part of someone’s non-injured body. If it looks even a little different, it might be a break.
Swelling can start immediately to hours after an injury. It’s the body’s way of sending resources to an area in need.
Swelling also prevents people from hurting themselves more. It cushions the area and is painful, so you’re less likely to over move it.
If you see significant swelling or the person says it feels high-pressured or stiff around the wound, take them in!
You know the sound your shoes make when you’re walking on gravel? The shifting sound of little pieces?
For a bad break, you can get that inside your body. Sometimes you can hear it, other times it’s felt by the person in pain.
If someone says something about grinding or feeling little pieces, take them to the ER. This is likely bits of bone and indicates a severe break.
Someone who has a broken bone isn’t going to go on with their day with no issues. Either that joint won’t work as well (floppy wrist example) or they’ll be in pain doing normal movements.
If this happens, it’s worth seeing a doctor. Even if it’s not a break, they can help prevent the pain and choose a treatment route.
A broken bone is painful in the beginning and annoying after the pain subsides.
You want to see a doctor if you suspect anything, with or without any signs of a broken bone.
They’ll get you set and on your way!