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Foot fractures

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Foot fracture means you have broken a bone in your foot which is made up of 26 bones. The fracture can happen in any one of these bone or it could be a case of multiple fractures.

We shall explain the anatomy of the foot below:

Hind foot: Connects your heel and your leg with the help two kinds of bones known as calcaneus and talus, respectively.

Fore foot: The longest structure of the foot is made up of 19 bones. Metatarsals are present in fore-foot

Mid foot: Small bones known as navicular, cuboid and phalanges make up the mid foot.

Other tiny bones or accessory bones known as sesamoid are also present in your foot which completes the set of 26 bones.


Symptoms of foot fracture

The most common symptoms are pain and restricted movement with your feet; in fact you won’t be able to walk or move your foot with a fracture. The pain is debilitating and throbbing. Your foot would swell, become tender and it might visibly appear deformed due to the fracture or displacement in your bone.


Causes of foot fractures

Commonly recognized fractures in foot are phalangeal and metatarsal fractures, nonetheless it can occur in other bones as well. The reasons for injury are:

Stress injuries: They usually occur in the forefoot more often due to increase in activity with your feet like running walking or heave foot training exercises. It can also occur while performing adventure sports like hiking, skating, rock climbing, etc.

Accidents: Slipping off from stairs or while walking, road accidents, kicking something hard with the foot, thrusting or landing on your feet very roughly

Children are more prone to foot fractures often due to falling because their bones are not as strong as adults. People with weak bones or bone disease (osteoporosis) are also prone to having foot fractures.

Diagnosis of foot fracture

Your doctor will first check for signs of tenderness and pain at different location of your foot. If there’s too much pain then he/she would rather prefer performing an X ray instead manually checking the range of motion because it would be too much painful.

If it’s a major injury then other imaging tests like CT scan, MRI or bone scan may be recommended.

The diagnosis involves locating the fracture correctly in the bone and evaluate if it has displaced and determine the overall extent of damage.


Treatment of foot fracture

The treatment depends absolutely on your test reports and the extent of damage. Not all foot fractures require surgery, instead your doctor might re align the displaced bones or use a splint or cast and immobilize the bones by applying various orthopedic techniques.

If it’s a complicated fracture then your doctor might use devices like pins, screws, rod or plates to position the bone properly and restore the structure and shape of the foot. These support materials would be removed later after your fracture has healed completely.

The treatments are performed under local or general anesthesia and you might be given a sedative as well. Pain killers and antibiotic might also be prescribed to prevent an infection.


Home care and precautions to take at home

You need rest. Since your foot would be plastered you will always need someone’s assistance for personal care. Do not try to walk with your plastered foot

Be careful while moving with your walking cast, flat bottom shoe (which is given by your doctor) or brace. Avoid slippery floors and look before taking every step. It would take at least 6-8 weeks to heal, so take care.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: September 07, 2014

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