Foot Fracture

A Broken Bone in Your Foot

What is a Foot Fracture?

A fracture is a broken bone.  This can vary from a small stress fracture to more severe displaced comminuted or compound fracture where there are several fragments of bone that may be protruding from the skin.  A Jones Fracture is a common fracture of the 5th metatarsal of the foot.  The 2nd and 3rd metatarsal are common areas affected by stress fractures.

How does it occur?

Fractures occur due to trauma, osteoporosis, or overuse.  Common accidents that cause foot fractures are car accidents, falling, dropping something heavy on your foot, tripping or stumbling, or even stubbing your toe.  Overuse injuries can occur from increasing activity volume too quickly, such as with running.  

What are the symptoms?

Pain and tenderness, especially with activity.  Swelling, bruising, and possibly deformity may be present.

How is it diagnosed?

A patient history and physical exam are obtained. Point tenderness pain is noted. X-rays show bony structures, although some stress fractures are not visible initially.  CT can give a high resolution 3D reconstruction of the injury.  MRI shows ligaments and other soft tissues and may show fractures not visible on x-ray.

A patient with chronic foot problems is difficult to treat because there are several conditions which are subtle that can cause you foot and midfoot pain.  A good exam and often an MRI can be very important to the diagnosis accuracy.

How is it treated?

 Conservative therapy can help with minor fractures with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and NSAIDs (Advil/ibuprofen or Aleve/naproxen). Splinting, bracing, or casting can be used to immobilize the broken bone while it heals if the fragments are well approximated.  Crutches or a walker may be needed to keep weight off the foot for a several weeks.  If the pieces are not well approximated, surgery may be needed to reduce the bones back into good alignment.  These fragments can be held in place with screws, pins, plates, or rods.

What is the recovery time?

Recovery varies based on the severity and chronicity of the injury.  If surgery is required, most patients will go home the same day.  You will use crutches initially, and advance activity levels over the next several weeks.  Bones will start to heal in two weeks, with complete healing in 6-8 weeks.  

We are here to help. If you believe you are suffering from one of these conditions, we would love to deliver a diagnosis, get you treated and get you moving again.

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