How to Tell the Difference Between A Muscle Strain and A Fracture

February 4, 2024

Injuries are unpredictable; anyone can sustain injury unexpectedly. Muscle strains and fractures are common injuries that can happen during everyday activities. This article discusses the differences between the symptoms and treatment of both muscle strains and fractures to help you determine whether to seek medical treatment for your injury. If you’ve suffered an injury, AFC Urgent Care West Long Branch offers fast and convenient injury diagnosis and treatment services on a walk-in basis in West Long Branch, NJ.

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What is a Muscle Strain?

Muscle strains, also referred to as pulled muscles, occur when you stretch your muscles beyond what they can handle. The primary cause of muscle strains is excessive pulling of a specific muscle group. Pulled muscles are common around the the legs, neck, and back, but they can happen in any muscle. Understanding when you have a pulled muscle or a more serious injury can be difficult. However, pulled muscles usually don’t occur near joints. Instead, they are usually located in the middle of a muscle.

Regardless of where the injury happens, pulled muscles cause a variety of common symptoms such as swelling, pain, trouble bearing weight and moving the affected area. General tenderness and localized pain are also common symptoms of a strained muscle. Pulled muscles can range greatly in severity from very mild to severe. For some people, it could be mere discomfort, while some would feel a lot of pain and loss of function.

What is a Fractured Bone?

Fractures occur when a bone faces unbearable pressure beyond its capacity and breaks. There are different classifications of fractures which can range from a tiny hairline fracture to a complete break in the bone. Fractures can be a result of trauma, which includes falls, sports activities accidents and vehicle accidents. Common symptoms of a fracture include severe pain directly on a bone, trouble moving a limb or bearing weight and a visibly deformed limb.

Like pulled muscles, fractures rarely impact the joints. Instead, fractures typically happen in the middle of a bone. Pain when touching the bone may indicate a fracture. Even if your pain is manageable, it is important to seek medical care if you have possibly suffered from a fracture. Delaying treatment can cause further damage and make the fracture worse.

How to Identify Muscle Strains vs Fractures:

While pulled muscles and fractures are completely different injuries, they can have symptoms which are difficult to accurately self diagnose at home. Understanding the key differences can help you determine the severity of your injury, but it is still a good idea to seek medical treatment if you suffer an injury for proper treatment.

One vital difference is the mechanism of injury: muscle traces typically result from overstretching or overuse of muscle tissues, whereas fractures arise due to direct trauma or excessive force applied to bones. The location of pain may also offer clues; muscle strains tend to provide localized pain inside the muscle belly, whereas fractures frequently produce more significant diffuse pain that radiates along the bone.

Seeking diagnosis at a medical center will ensure an accurate diagnosis. Your medical provider will take X-rays or MRI scans in order to get a full picture of your muscles and bones to determine the significance of the injury.

Visit AFC Urgent Care West Long Branch for Urgent Injury Care

Getting urgent care quickly after noticing any signs of muscle strains or bone fractures is vital to properly treat your injury. At AFC Urgent Care West Long Branch, our walk-in clinic offers X-ray imaging on a walk-in basis. We maintain short wait times so that you can quickly access comprehensive medical care following an injury. Simply walk into the clinic, or schedule an appointment online.

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Our team of medical professionals is board-certified and trained to accurately diagnose and provide treatment to a variety of common injuries, including fractures and pulled muscles. Our clinic accepts most medical insurance plans and offers affordable care options. Walk in today for rapid injury care available for patients in West Long Branch, NJ, and the surrounding communities. For additional information, contact us directly by calling (732) 222-8000

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