Woman grasping her leg experiencing broken bone and bruised bone symptoms

Aches and breaks: how to tell if a bone is fractured or bruised.

When injury strikes, deciphering whether it's a bruised bone or a fracture is essential. In this article, we explore the symptoms that can help you distinguish between the two and get you to seek out the proper care.

Let's dive into the signs and understand the best steps for injury care with CityMD by your side. And if you need follow-up care from a specialist, we can help with that too. Watch this video to learn 5 Reasons You Should Visit Summit Health Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.

Symptoms of broken bones.

Here are the telltale symptoms of broken bones to be on the lookout for.

  • Pain. The hallmark of a fracture is an intense, sharp pain localized at the injury site. This pain is often immediate and may persist, becoming more pronounced with movement or touch.
  • Swelling. Within moments or gradually, swelling occurs around the injured area. This is a result of the body's inflammatory response to the fracture.
  • Deformity. You may see a visible misalignment or an unnatural angle of the affected limb. This is a strong indicator of a fracture and requires immediate attention.
  • Limited range of motion. You may have difficulty moving the injured limb or be completely immobile. Broken bones generally will cause a restricted range of motion.
  • Bruising. While bruising may occur, it isn't always immediate. Discoloration may develop over time as the blood vessels break, but it might not be as prominent with a bruised bone.


Symptoms of bruised bones.

Now that we've covered what fractures look and feel like let's turn our attention to bruised bones. This will help you get the best care possible for your injury.

  • Bruise pain. Though typically less intense than fracture pain, bruised bones still cause noticeable discomfort. The pain is often more generalized around the injured area.
  • Swelling. Swelling is present but is typically less pronounced compared to fractures. It’s a result of the body’s response to tissue damage.
  • Bruise discoloration. Visible bruising occurs due to blood pooling under the skin. The color may change over time, from red to purple and then yellow as the bruise heals.
  • Tenderness. The affected area is often tender to the touch. This tenderness is a result of damaged tissues beneath the skin's surface.
  • Bruise mobility. While there might be some restriction in movement, it's generally less severe than with a fracture. The discomfort is more on the surface rather than deeper within the bone.


Injury care at CityMD.

Ready to get an official diagnosis and treatment plan for your bruised or broken bone? Here's what you can expect at your local CityMD urgent care.

  • Prompt evaluation. Upon your visit to CityMD, our experienced healthcare professionals will thoroughly examine the nature and severity of your injury.
  • Diagnostic imaging. To ensure an accurate diagnosis, CityMD employs state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, such as X-rays to provide detailed insights into the extent of the injury.
  • Personalized treatment plans. Your treatment plan is personalized to address the specific needs of your injury. CityMD ensures that your care aligns with the best practices for a speedy and effective recovery.
  • Follow-up care. From the initial assessment to follow-up care, CityMD remains dedicated to your well-being. We provide ongoing support, ensuring that your recovery progresses smoothly.



Aches and breaks might sound similar, but distinguishing between a fractured and bruised bone is crucial for proper care. An important way to help on your road to recovery is to determine if a bone is fractured or bruised.

CityMD can help you find out. Just walk in for prompt evaluation and personalized treatment. Recognizing the signs early ensures a smoother path to recovery. Your journey from aches to relief starts with understanding your diagnosis, and CityMD is here to guide you every step of the way.

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We’re ready to care for you.

Visit any CityMD urgent care location in your community today for an evaluation with one of our expert providers.