Common Fractures to the Foot & Ankle
Fractures to the foot and ankle are common injuries. The foot itself is made up of 26 bones. While the size of the bones are relatively small, they do a remarkable job of supporting our weight. Fractures of the foot and ankle most commonly occur when an outside force causes the bone to bend, twist, or be crushed. Acute injuries usually happen by rolling an ankle, a car accident, or an athletic injury.
Types of Breaks
Diagnosing which type of break involves a physical examination by a doctor who may order additional testing.
A compound fracture occurs when there is an open wound or break in the skin near the site of the broken bone.
Partial fractures occur when there is a crack in the bone that does not reach across the entire width of the bone.
Also known as a hairline fracture, stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bone. These tiny cracks are the result of chronic use over an extended period of time.
Fractures of the Foot or Ankle
Toe fractures can normally heal with or without a cast.
The sesamoid bones are two small, round bones at the base of the big toe. In general, padded soles help relieve pain but sometimes the bone may have to be surgically removed.
Located in the middle of the foot, these fractures often do not require a cast. A stiff-soled shoe may help. Occasionally, surgery is needed to correct misaligned bones or fractured segments.
Ankle Joint Fracture
Ankle joint fractures usually require a cast. On occasion, surgery may be required.
Treatment for Foot or Ankle Fractures
Treatment of foot and ankle fractures depend on the severity of the fractures. If left untreated, serious consequences can arise, such as:
- Arthritis. This can be caused by a fracture in a joint or as the result of angular deformities. Deformities develop when a displaced fracture is severe or has not been properly corrected.
- A deformity in the bony architecture, which may limit the ability to move the foot. This can also cause difficulty in fitting shoes.
- Chronic pain
It is important to seek medical attention if you think you may have a foot or ankle fracture. Treatment of a fractured foot or ankle varies greatly, as there are numerous types and different degrees of severity. The physicians at American Foot & Leg Specialists evaluate each case to determine what treatment will best serve each individual. Most commonly, treatment will consist of some type of immobilization of the fractured bone to allow it to rest such as a cast, removable brace, or a stiff-soled shoe. Utilization of crutches is often necessary to further reduce stress on the injured area, allowing it to rest and heal.