ZocdocAnswers What's the difference between a fracture, or a bruised bone?

Question

What's the difference between a fracture, or a bruised bone?

Yesterday I fell from a handstand, and most if not all weight fell onto my shoulder. But I can still move my arm, it's just very painful. It didn't hurt at first, the pain has been increasing.

Answer

Sorry to hear about your fall, and hope that you are well. The shoulder can be prone to injury, as there are many different muscles that insert on different bones to provide the excellent function of the upper extremity. The fact that you can still move it appropriately is promising, as loss of function would be a concern - a doctor could provide useful insights about your condition. In any case, a fracture is just that: a break in the bone. While this can be something obvious, and readily apparent on an x-ray, there are other kinds of fractures that can be more difficult to diagnose because they are small. In some cases, these fractures are not even identified until after some of the healing has occurred, in which case the healing of the bone makes the fracture more visible. Bruises are the description of a wound that has occurred that has caused damage to tissue and is noted by spilling of blood into the surrounding tissue (i.e., through damage of blood vessels such as capillaries). The amount of pain that you feel after an injury can provide valuable information. If you have any numbness or tingling, that could also be a sign of nerve damage. Please speak with your doctor about this question.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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