Foot Fractures

Foot Fracture Types, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

What Are Foot Fractures?

Man with foot in a cast sitting with leg elevatedA foot fracture occurs when one or more bones in the foot breaks as a result from stress or physical force exerted on the bone. There are multiple types of foot fracture and a variety of causes.

Types of Fracture

The most common types of bone fracture include:

  • Closed fractures: The bone breaks but does not puncture the skin.
  • Displaced fractures: In this type of fracture, the bone breaks into two or more pieces and moves, causing the bone to become misaligned.
  • Comminuted fractures: A fracture where the bone breaks into several pieces.
  • Non-displaced fractures: Whether the bone breaks entirely or cracks part way, if it remains aligned it is called a non-displaced fracture.
  • Open fractures: The bone breaks and punctures the skin.

Foot Fracture Symptoms

If you do have a foot fracture, you will likely notice something is amiss. There are several symptoms you may experience with a foot fracture, such as:
  • Bruising
  • Deformity
  • Difficulty walking or an inability to put weight on the foot
  • Dull pain, throbbing pain, or pain that increases with activity
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
Though many people experience one or more of the symptoms, it is important to note that not all patients will experience every symptom listed and some may not experience any.

Foot Fracture Diagnosis

Xray of foot fractureIf you do notice any deformity, or have pain, swelling, or tenderness that lingers for more than a day or two, it is important to contact a podiatrist. To diagnose a foot fracture, Dr. Sana takes your medical history, asking specifically about the above symptoms. He also asks about your activity level, when any existing symptoms began, and if you have sustained any recent foot injuries. Dr. Sana typically orders diagnostic imaging if he suspects you have a fracture. This may include x-rays or ultrasound. Images are used to both diagnose the issue and determine treatment options. These tests are performed in-house, using Phoenician Foot & Ankle’s state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment.

How Do You Treat a Foot Fracture?

The type of treatment received for a foot fracture depends on the injury’s severity and type. Common treatment methods are:
  • Compression: Typically combined with elevating the foot, compression helps reduce inflammation.
  • Ice: It is usually recommended that you ice your foot and/or apply anti-inflammatory medications to bring down pain and swelling.
  • Offloading: This gives your foot a chance to rest and consists of relieving pressure by wearing a boot or cast.
Though the vast majority of foot fractures do not require surgical treatment, whether surgery is required, as with all treatment options, depends on the severity and type of fracture.

How Do You Prevent Foot Fractures?

Black and white image of runner holding an ankle glowing redTo prevent a foot fracture, you need to know the possible causes and any high-risk scenarios you might encounter. The most common fractures include falling (especially if catching your foot on something caused the fall), physical impacts, and overuse. Dropping something on your feet or consistent use always increases your odds of a fracture.

You are also at a greater risk of foot fractures if you participate in high-impact sports, work in construction or similar manual labor industry, or suddenly increase your physical activity.

With this in mind, be sure to wear the proper shoes for whatever activity you are performing, whether it is exercise or work. Replace your athletic and work shoes as needed, especially if you notice they are wearing unevenly. When exercising or participating in sports, be sure to use all equipment properly and as intended.

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