Foot Fractures

Overview

Definition

A foot fracture is a break in any of the bones in the foot.

Phalanx Fracture of the Foot
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Causes

This injury is caused by trauma from:

  • Falls
  • Blows or object falling on the foot
  • Collisions
  • Severe twists
  • Stress on a weakened bone

Risk Factors

Things that may raise your risk are:

  • Health problems that result in falls, such as weak muscles
  • A sudden increase in activity
  • High-impact or repetitive sports, such as gymnastics, basketball, tennis, or running

SymptomsandDiagnosis

Symptoms

Symptoms may be:

  • Pain
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Numbness in the toes or foot
  • Problems moving or walking
  • Changes in the way the foot looks

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will be asked how the injury happened. An exam will be done, focusing on the foot.

Images of the foot may be taken. This can be done with x-rays.

Treatments

Treatment

How it is treated depends on whether the injury is mild or severe. Options may be:

Initial Care

Initial care may be:

  • Ice to ease pain and swelling
  • Medicine to ease pain
  • A splint, walking boot, stiff-soled shoe, or cast to keep the bones of the foot in place as it heals
  • Crutches to keep weight off of the foot
  • Exercises to help with strength and motion

Children's bones have growth plates that let bones grow and harden with age. A child with this type of fracture will need to be checked over time to make sure the bone heals the right way and keeps growing.

Putting Bones Back In Place

Some fractures cause pieces of bone to come apart. These pieces will need to be put back into place. This may be done:

  • Without surgery—anesthesia will be used to ease pain while the doctor moves the pieces back into place
  • With surgery—pins, screws, or plates may be used to reconnect the pieces and hold them in place

Prevention

Most fractures are due to accidents. Healthy may prevent injury. This may be done through exercise.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

a (Broken Foot; Fracture, Foot)

RESOURCES

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org 

Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.orthoinfo.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org 

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org 

References

Foot fractures and dislocations. Patient UK website. Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Foot-Fractures-and-Dislocations.htm. Updated February 23, 2015. Accessed September 24, 2019.

Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:  https://www.dynamed.com/condition/stress-fractures-of-the-foot-and-ankle  . Updated March 20, 2017. Accessed September 24, 2019.

Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00379. Updated March 2015. Accessed September 24, 2019.

Toe and forefoot fractures. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00165. Updated June 2016. Accessed September 24, 2019.

Welck MJ, Hayes T, et al. Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. Injury 2017 Aug;48(8):1722.