Broken Foot


Any damage to the bone of the foot is a fractured foot. A fractured foot might result from a simple slip or fall, an automobile accident, or both. A fractured foot can range in severity. Little fissures in the bones can become fractures, as can break that puncture the skin.

The specific location and degree of the fracture will determine the course of treatment for a fractured foot. Surgery may be necessary to implant plates, rods, or screws into a badly fractured foot to keep the damaged bone in the right position while it heals.

Broken Foot: Causes

The probable causes of a broken foot may include −

  • Auto mishaps. Car accidents frequently result in crushing injuries, which can break bones that need to be surgically repaired.

  • Falls. Your feet are susceptible to breaking if you trip and fall or if you land on your feet after a brief leap.

  • Impact caused by a large weight. Fractures are frequently caused by dropping anything heavy on your foot.

  • Missteps. Sometimes even placing your foot incorrectly might lead to a shattered bone. By stumbling your toes on furniture, you run the risk of breaking a toe.

  • Overuse. The weight-bearing bones in your foot are prone to stress fractures. These minute fissures are typically brought on over time by misuse or repeated force, such as long-distance jogging. But, they can also happen when a bone that has been weakened by a disease like osteoporosis is used normally.

Broken Foot: Symptoms

The major symptoms include −

  • Instantaneous throbbing ache

  • Pain that gets worse as you move about and becomes better when you rest

  • Swelling

  • Bruising

  • Tenderness

  • Deformity

  • Have trouble walking or carrying weight

When to Visit a Doctor?

If there is a clear deformity, if pain and swelling don't improve with self-care, or if the discomfort and swelling worsen over time, see a doctor. Get a doctor if the injury makes it difficult for you to walk.

Foot fracture complications can occur.

  • Arthritis. Years might pass following a fracture that spreads into a joint before arthritis sets up. If your foot hurts after a break, go see a doctor for a diagnosis.

  • Diseased bones (osteomyelitis). If you have an open fracture, in which one end of the bone protrudes through the skin, your bone may be exposed to pathogens that cause infection.

  • Damage to nerves or blood vessels. Every injury to the foot has the potential to rupture surrounding blood vessels and nerves. Get immediate assistance if you have any numbness or circulation problems. A bone that doesn't get enough circulation may deteriorate and collapse.

Broken Foot: Risk Factors

The major risk factors include −

  • Engage in sports with high impact. Strains, direct impacts, and twisting mishaps that occur when participating in sports like basketball, football, gymnastics, tennis, and soccer can result in foot fractures.

  • Using improper technique or sporting equipment. Defective equipment, such as too-worn-out or ill-suited shoes, can result in stress fractures and falls. Foot problems can also be caused by ineffective training techniques, such as omitting a warm-up and a stretch.

  • You start moving around more. No matter if you're an experienced athlete or you've only recently started working out, dramatically increasing the frequency or duration of your exercises may increase your risk of suffering a stress fracture.

  • Engage in specific vocations. In a variety of work environments, such as a construction site, you incur the risk of falling from a height or treading on something heavy.

  • Maintain an unorganized or poorly lit home. Walking aimlessly through a messy or dark home increases your chance of falling and being hurt on your feet.

  • Meet a few requirements. If you have osteoporosis, which lowers bone density, you run the risk of damaging the bones in your feet.

Broken Foot: Diagnosis

Your doctor will feel your foot for any sensitive spots during the physical examination. Your pain's exact location can be used to identify its root cause.

To assess your range of motion, they could move your foot into various positions. To assess your gait, your doctor can ask you to walk a short distance.

Imaging Exams

One or more of the imaging tests listed below may be recommended by your doctor if your signs and symptoms point to a break or fracture.

  • X-rays. In X-rays, the majority of foot fractures may be seen. To avoid a lot of bone image overlap, the technician might need to take X-rays from several angles. Stress fractures frequently do not manifest on X-rays until the break has begun to mend.

  • A bone scan. A tiny quantity of radioactive substance will be injected into a vein by a technician for a bone scan. Your bones, especially the areas that have been injured, are drawn to the radioactive substance. In the generated picture, damaged regions, including stress fractures, appear as bright patches.

  • Computer-aided imaging (CT scan). In a CT scan, X-rays are collected from several angles and combined to create cross-sectional pictures of your body's interior components. The best course of therapy may be decided by your doctor with the use of a CT scan, which can provide more information about the bone and the soft tissues that surround it.

  • Imaging with magnetic resonance (MRI). A powerful magnetic field and radio waves are used in MRI to provide incredibly precise pictures of the ligaments that support your joints.

Broken Foot: Treatment

Medications  An over-the-counter painkiller, such as acetaminophen, may be suggested by your doctor.

Techniques, both surgical and otherwise

  • Reduction. Your doctor may need to put the fragments back into their appropriate locations, a procedure known as reduction, if you have a displaced fracture, meaning the two ends of the fracture are not aligned. You might need to take a muscle relaxant, sedative, or even general anesthesia before this treatment, depending on how much pain and swelling you are experiencing.

  • Immobilization

Surgery

An orthopedic surgeon might occasionally need to use pins, plates, or screws to keep your bones in the right positions while they recover. If these materials are noticeable or uncomfortable, they may be removed once the fracture has healed.

Broken Foot: Prevention

You can take the following preventive measures to avoid the chances of getting a broken foot −

  • Wear the right footwear. If the ground is rocky, use hiking boots. If required, use steel-toed boots when working. Choose the right athletic footwear for your sport.

  • Regularly swap out your running shoes. Throw away shoes as soon as the tread or heel begins to deteriorate or if the wear is uneven. Running shoes should be changed every 300 to 400 kilometers.

  • Start gradually. It holds for both fresh fitness regimens and every workout.

  • Cross-train. Stress fractures can be avoided by alternating activities. Alternate between cycling and jogging.

  • Boost bone vigor. Milk, yoghurt, and cheese are just a few examples of calcium-rich foods that are excellent for your body. Supplementing with vitamin D can also be beneficial.

  • Use nightlights. Walking in the dark leads to several fractured toes.

  • Clean up your home. Avoiding trips and falls can be made easier by keeping debris off the floor.

Conclusion

Foot fractures result in pain and edema. The pain is typically (but not always) so severe that it prevents you from walking. You might be able to walk with a broken toe since fractured toes hurt less. Foot bruising in the presence of a shattered bone is also typical.

Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha
Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha

MBBS MS [ OPHTHALMOLOGY ]

Updated on: 29-Mar-2023

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