Bone tissue is a hard substance. It’s designed to be able to support your body weight and the impacts of your movements. Yet it’s far from the hardest substance in the world, so it can still sustain injuries. Foot fractures are painful bone problems that destabilize your lower limbs and make it difficult, if not impossible, to continue walking around.
Snap, Crack, Pop in the Bone
Foot fractures are any break that develops in one or more of the bones in your feet. They can occur in your toes, arch, heel, or ankle, depending on the damage done. Typically, fractures are traumatic injuries—they happen suddenly as the result of a force on your foot that was more than the bones could handle. A fall, trip, sharp twist, or hard impact could all be enough to cause a bone to break.
When the injury happens, you typically feel a sharp, immediate pain. Sometimes there is an audible snap or crack. The discomfort can make it very difficult to put any weight on the affected foot. You’ll notice swelling around the spot where the fracture occurred. The area may or may not have bruising. Breaks can create lumps or changes in the foot shape.
The severity of the injury depends on which bone fractured and the extent of the damage. Simple or stable fractures are breaks with bone ends that stay close together and do not change their position. Displaced fractures are breaks that involve ends of a bone that no longer line up, creating difficulties healing. Even worse are injuries that involve a bone that breaks into multiple pieces. However, no matter how serious or simple the condition is, you need prompt, expert treatment for your foot to recover well.
Sealing up the Breaks
In order to treat your fractures effectively, you’ll need your lower limbs evaluated to locate the broken bone and determine how serious the injury. Dr. Victoria Melhuish and our team here at Sierra Foot & Ankle will examine your feet and take X-rays to get a picture of the affected bones. Once we have an clear understanding and examination of your fracture, we can begin targeted treatment to heal your broken bone.
You’ll need to rest and immobilize your foot for several weeks to allow the bone to heal. This may mean using a non-weight bearing cast or some type of stiff walking boot, depending on the severity of your condition. You’ll want to reduce swelling and irritation around the injured area as well. Icing the foot and keeping it elevated can help this. Once your bones have healed to a limited degree, you can slowly begin using your foot again. Physical therapy may be recommended to help rebuild your limb strength and prevent future injuries.
If your fracture is displaced, the bone will need to be realigned before you can heal. This may be able to be done conservatively, however, some severe breaks may need surgery to reposition the bone or even use pins to hold the pieces in place. Failing to properly realign the bone could lead to arthritis or foot deformities later.
Foot fractures can be fairly serious injuries. You need to take care of your broken bones right away so you can relieve the pain and avoid developing more serious issues later. If you’re concerned you may have a foot fracture, call Sierra Foot & Ankle right away, (775) 783-8037, or use our website request form to reach us.