Broken Bones: How To Tell If A Bone Is Broken Or Just Bruised

If you think you may have a bruise, you may be wrong. It could be a broken bone; it is important to know how to tell the difference between a fracture and a bruise. A fracture is a break in the bone, while a bruise is an injury to the soft tissue. This article will teach you how to identify a broken bone and what to do if you suspect one has occurred.

What Is Fracture and Ways to Identify It?

A fracture is a break in the continuity of bone tissue. There are two main types of fractures: complete and incomplete. In a complete fracture, the bone is completely broken, and the ends of the bone are separated. In an incomplete fracture, the bone is partially broken, and the ends of the bone remain connected. Fractures can also be classified according to their cause. Traumatic fractures occur due to an external force, such as a fall or a car accident. Pathologic fractures result from an underlying condition, such as osteoporosis or cancer.

Identify The Fracture

Fractures can be identified by their signs and symptoms. Common signs of a fracture include:

1. Pain

One of the most common signs of a fracture is pain. If you have a broken bone, you will likely feel pain at the site of the injury. The pain may be constant, or it may come and go. Additionally, the pain may increase when you put weight on the injured area or move it a certain way.

2. Swelling

Another common sign of a fracture is swelling. If you have a broken bone, you may notice that the area around the injury is swollen and tender to the touch. The swelling may also cause the site to appear larger than usual.

3. Bruising

Bruising is another common sign of a fracture. If you have a broken bone, you may notice that the skin around the injury is discolored. The bruise may be black, blue, or purple in color. Additionally, the bruise may become more prominent over time as more blood leaks into the area.

4. Deformity

A fourth common sign of a fracture is a deformity. If you have a broken bone, you may notice that the affected area looks distorted or out of place. For example, if your arm is fractured, it may appear bent at an odd angle.

5. Difficulty Moving

You may also have difficulty moving the affected body part if you have a fracture. This is because broken bones can cause muscles, tendons, and ligaments to stretch or tear. As a result, you may feel pain when moving the affected area.

What Is A Bruise?

A bruise is an injury to the body’s soft tissue that results in broken blood vessels and leaked blood. The blood seeps into the surrounding tissues, causing the classic “black and blue” appearance. Bruises can happen anywhere on the body but are most common on the arms and legs. Bruises are usually caused by a direct blow to the skin, such as from a fall or a punch. However, they can also occur due to repeated friction, such as from rubbing against a rough surface. In most cases, bruises will heal on their own within a few days. However, severe bruises may require medical attention. Treatment typically involves icing the area to reduce swelling and pain. In some cases, oral or topical medications may also be prescribed. With proper treatment, most bruises will fade within two weeks.

Identify A Bruise

Now, let’s look at how to identify a bruise

1. Look for discoloration of the skin.

Bruises occur when small blood vessels under the skin are damaged or broken. This can happen due to a direct injury, such as a fall or a blow to the body. When this happens, blood leaks out of the vessels and into the surrounding tissue, causing the area to appear discolored.

2. Look for an area that is swollen or tender to the touch.

In addition to appearing discolored, bruises can also cause the affected area to swell or feel tender to the touch. This is because of the inflammation that occurs when the blood vessels are damaged.

3. Look for an area that is warm to the touch.

Another symptom of a bruise is that the affected area may feel warm to the touch due to the increased blood flow in the area.

4. Look for an area that has a dull ache.

The pain associated with a bruise is usually described as a dull ache. It is important to note that this pain is usually not severe and will resolve on its own over time.

5. Look for an area that appears blue or black.

One of the telltale signs of a bruise is that it will often appear blue or black in color. This is due to the presence of oxygenated blood in the area, which gives the skin a darker appearance.

What To Do If The Bone Is Bruised or Fractured

If you suspect a bone is fractured or bruised, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. A doctor will be able to assess the injury and provide treatment if necessary. For minor fractures and bruises, this may include rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). In more severe cases, surgery may be required to repair the bone and help the area heal properly.

It is also essential to take steps to prevent broken bones and bruises from happening in the first place. This includes wearing protective gear, such as helmets or padding, when engaging in sports or activities with a risk of injury. Additionally, it is vital to be aware of your surroundings and practice good posture to help reduce your risk of falls and other accidents.


It is important to identify the signs and symptoms of a broken bone or a bruise. If you suspect that you may have either, it is important to seek medical attention immediately to get the proper treatment. Taking precautions and being aware of your surroundings can help reduce your risk of broken bones or bruises.


The blogs presented by TGH Urgent Care in partnership with Fast Track are not a replacement for medical care and are exclusively intended for educational purposes. The content provided here should not be construed as medical guidance. If you are encountering any symptoms, we strongly recommend that you seek an appointment with a duly qualified medical practitioner at our nearest facility.

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