Fractures in the foot can come in all shapes and sizes, from minor “hair-line” fractures, to stress fractures from overuse, or clear cut breaks due to injury. Here are some causes of foot fractures as well as information about how a doctor will diagnose and treat the injury.
Foot fractures happen when there is a sudden shift or weight on the foot that cracks one or more bones. Some of the most common causes are car accidents and falls. Dropping something heavy on your foot can fracture foot bones, as can something as simple as stubbing your toe very hard. Stress fractures occur in people whose feet suffer from overuse. These are tiny cracks in the bone that develop over time from repetitive pressure to the foot, such as running.
It can sometimes be difficult to tell if you fracture foot bones because the pain may not be too severe or may be similar to other injuries, such as a sprained ankle. One symptom of a fracture in the foot is immediate, throbbing pain that gets worse with use and better with rest. Swelling, bruising, tenderness, and deformity can also be signs of foot fractures. If you have difficulty walking or bearing weight on your foot, you may have broken it. Contact a doctor if you can’t walk, have an obvious deformity in your foot, or if the pain or swelling does not get better over time.
When you go to the doctor with a possible fracture, expect to have to walk around a bit to demonstrate where your foot is hurting. The doctor will also move your foot into different positions and check for spots of tenderness. If it seems you have a fracture in the foot, you will have an x-ray or other scan to determine which bones are broken and how badly.
Depending on how severe your fracture is, your doctor may prescribe a variety of treatments. Casts are used for a broken foot, while more minor foot fractures only require a brace, boot, or shoe. You may need to use crutches to get around while your foot heals. Severe breaks sometimes require surgery before casting so that the bones heal properly.
Once your cast comes off, you will likely need physical therapy to get your foot’s strength back to normal. This may mean going to a physical therapist or learning stretches and exercises to do at home, depending on how bad your fracture in the foot was and how long it had to be immobilized.
Broken bones often come from accidents like vehicle crashes or falls. However, there are some things you can do to prevent foot fractures in your day-to-day life. Wearing proper shoes helps you avoid slipping and falling. Get rid of old shoes that have no tread left, especially if you are an athlete. When working out or doing other strenuous activity, start slow and gradually increase your intensity. Even something as simple as keeping your home clean and well lit can help you escape foot fractures. A surprising number of injuries come from tripping over things in your own house.
Need a doctor to diagnose and treat a fracture in the foot? Diablo Foot and Ankle will have you up and running again in no time at all. Call them today to schedule an appointment.