Wrist Sprain vs Fracture: How to Tell The Difference

wrist sprain vs fracture

Are you unsure of the difference between a wrist sprain vs fracture? Do you need quality care to help you get over your injury?

Most of us live an active lifestyle. We bike, swim, and spend calories. Sometimes we take a fall and accrue an injury, at which point it’s most important to know the extent of your injury and the types of appropriate treatment.

If you need to tell the difference between a sprain and a fracture, keep reading for the signs you should know.

Wrist Sprain vs Fracture

In order to tell the difference between a sprained wrist and a fracture, it’s important that you know what each injury looks like under the bruising. Let’s explore each problem.


In your wrist, you have strong ligaments that hold small bones in place. These connections, called Palmar wrist ligaments, are what decides the limits your wrist can move. Accordingly, most wrist sprains occur from landing on your open palm, causing your wrist to bend backward.

There are three levels or grades of a wrist sprain. Let’s keep it simple by saying, the lowest grade involves a stretched or strained ligament. The next two grades involve partial tearing and fully torn wrist ligaments.

How do you tell if you suffered a sprained wrist? Here are the common signs.

Sprain Symptoms

You’re likely to experience:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Warmth around the place of injury
  • A popping or dislocating sensation

These symptoms do not guarantee proper self-diagnosis. As a result, it’s key that you report to your care center to get a physical examination and X-Ray at the time of your injury. If you have a delay in your treatment, you can solve how to treat a sprained wrist by resting it for at least 48 hours, using ice and compression to ease the pain and inflammation.


A fractured wrist is considered a broken wrist. In the case of a fracture, this simply means that one of the 10 small yet important bones in your wrist suffered a break. The most common of these to break is the radius.

The two types of wrist fractures are displaced and non-displaced. A displaced fracture means that your bone has moved out of place and requires adjustment and time to heal. A non-displacement does not require resetting, but will still take the protection and a healing period.

Here are the symptoms to look out for.

Fracture Symptoms

These are the following signs of a fractured wrist for self-examination:

  • Pain or “tingling” in your fingers
  • Slight deformity in your hand
  • Inflammation
  • Bruising and sensitivity around the break area

Just like a sprained wrist, if you notice any of the symptoms listed above you should contact a doctor or care center right away.

The Right Care When You Need it Most

Now that you know the difference between wrist sprain vs fracture you can make a better-educated guess behind what went wrong.

We can live complicated lives. Somedays everything is well, and others, the sky looks like it’s falling. At the end of the day, we all deserve a place where we can get well.

If you’re looking for a consistent provider who cares, contact us for more information to set up your next visit.

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