Your feet can tolerate a lot of pressure from daily activities and strenuous exercise, but too much pressure too quickly can cause the bones to fracture or break. Foot fractures can occur for several reasons including:
- Direct trauma
- Falling from a significant height
- Tripping or stumbling
Certain factors such as arthritis or decreased bone density, suddenly increasing your activity level, improper technique when exercising, and high impact activities may increase your risk of developing foot fractures.
Common signs or symptoms of a foot fracture may include:
- A bone is out of place and/or bone is showing through the skin
- Difficulty moving your foot or toe
- Heat or warmth at the site of injury
- Inability to place weight or pressure on the foot
- Intense pain
- Tenderness or tingling
Anyone suspecting a broken bone should see a doctor immediately, even if you are capable of placing weight on the suspected limb. Seek medical attention immediately if you develop any of the following:
- Coldness or numbness
- Open wound near the site of suspected break
If you suspect a foot fracture, contact your doctor for a thorough physical examination and proper diagnosis. Your doctor may order imaging tests to determine the precise location and severity of the fracture.
Treatment will depend on the bone, location of the fracture, and severity of the injury. In minor cases, rest and ice therapy will allow the fracture to heal within several weeks. For more moderate cases, common treatment options for foot fractures include:
- Immobilization – A cast, boot, crutch, and/or scooter can help to keep the foot in an ideal position as it heals and prevents you from placing weight on the foot.
- Medicine – Anti-inflammatory medication can help to decrease pain and swelling.
- Physical therapy – Physical therapy may be used to help strengthen muscles and ligaments during recovery and restore your foot flexibility and strength.
- Surgery – Surgery may be necessary in severe cases to realign pieces of bone or ensure they remain in place during the healing process.
The recovery time for a fracture can range from several weeks to several months depending on the type of fracture you have.
Though you cannot prevent a foot fracture there are steps you can take to prevent injury to your foot such as remembering to stretch and cool down before and after exercise. Wear the appropriate shoes for your exercises or activities. Remember to replace your shoes every 300 to 400 miles or once the tread or heel begins to wear out. If you are starting a new workout routine, start slow and listen to your body.
For more information on foot fractures and our treatment options or to schedule an appointment, contact our office today.