Foot fractures, though common, can be a source of significant pain and inconvenience, it will affect your ability to walk and perform daily activities. At Momentum Podiatry we understand the challenges that foot fractures present, which is why we’re dedicated to providing expert care and effective management strategies to help you recover and regain mobility. We especially understand the frustration of a fracture and we are keen to help you return to your normal activities and goals, no matter how big or small.

Understanding Foot Fractures

A foot fracture refers to a break or crack in any of the bones in the foot, including the toes, metatarsals, and ankle bones. These fractures can occur as a result of trauma. Such as a fall or sports injury, or from overuse and repetitive stress on the feet.

Why Foot Fractures Matter?

Foundation of Movement:

The feet are the foundation of our body’s movement. Even a small fracture can disrupt this foundation, affecting our ability to walk, stand, and engage in daily activities comfortably.

Impact on Balance and Stability:

Similarly fractures in the feet can compromise balance and stability, increasing the risk of falls and injuries. This is especially concerning for older adults, as falls can have serious consequences, including fractures in other parts of the body.

Altered Gait Patterns:

To compensate for pain and discomfort caused by a foot fracture, individuals may develop altered gait patterns. These changes can put additional strain on other parts of the body, leading to secondary issues such as other foot pain, hip, knee, or back pain.

Impact on Daily Life:

Foot fractures can disrupt daily routines and activities, including work, household chores, and recreational pursuits. The pain and discomfort associated with fractures can make even simple tasks challenging and frustrating

Limitations in Physical Activity:

Foot fractures can limit participation in physical activities and sports, affecting both physical fitness and mental well-being. This can lead to deconditioning, weight gain, and decreased overall health if not addressed appropriately.

Why you should have your foot fracture assessed?

Risk of Complications:

Untreated or improperly managed foot fractures can lead to complications such as chronic pain, arthritis, and deformities. We aim to reduce your need for surgical intervention if it can be avoided. These complications can significantly impair mobility and quality of life if not addressed promptly. 

Delayed Healing:

Due to the constant weight-bearing and movement of the feet, fractures in this area may take longer to heal compared to fractures in other parts of the body. Although without proper treatment and management, healing may be delayed, prolonging pain and require surgical management. 

A Podiatrist issuing a cam boot for a foot fracture

Types of Foot Fractures:

Foot fractures can vary in severity and location, with common types including:

Toe fractures:

Fractures of the toes are often caused by stubbing the toe or dropping a heavy object on it. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty moving the affected toe. It can be difficult to get a shoe on or put weight through the toe. Toe fractures may seem like minor injuries, but they can have a significant impact on your mobility and overall health

Metatarsal fractures:

Fractures of the long bones in the midfoot, known as the metatarsals, can result from direct trauma or overuse. There are 5 metatarsal bones in each foot and you can fracture one or multiple in cases of trauma. These fractures may cause pain, swelling, and difficulty bearing weight for a long period of time on the affected foot.

Ankle fractures:

Fractures of the bones in the ankle joint can occur from twisting or rolling the ankle, such as during a sports injury or fall. Symptoms may include severe pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking.

Treatment and Management Options of Foot Fractures

The treatment approach for foot fractures will depend on the type and severity of the injury. Here are some common management strategies employed by podiatrists at Momentum Podiatry. 

Immobilization:

For mild to moderate fractures, immobilization with a cast, splint, or walking boot may be necessary to stabilize the foot and promote healing. This helps prevent further injury and allows the bones to align properly.

Imaging:

Before making a diagnosis imaging is usually required to accompany the podiatric assessment and confirm the extent of the injury. 

Rest and elevation:

Resting the affected foot and elevating it above heart level can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain. This promotes circulation and aids in the healing process.

Ice and heat therapy:

Applying ice packs to the injured area can help reduce pain and swelling associated with foot fractures. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a cloth to prevent frostbite and apply it for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Ice is helpful in the initial stages of injury for pain management, however the use of heat is very beneficial in promoting healing. Speak to your podiatrist at Momentum Podiatry for your specific management plan.

Pain management:

Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or panadol may be recommended to alleviate discomfort associated with foot fractures. Prescription pain medication may be necessary for severe pain.

Physical therapy:

Once the acute phase of healing has passed, physical therapy exercises may be prescribed to help restore strength, continue to reduce pain caused by stiffness, improve flexibility, and range of motion to the foot and ankle.

Surgical intervention:

In cases of severe or displaced fractures, surgical intervention may be necessary to realign the bones and stabilize the foot. This may involve the use of screws, plates, or pins to hold the bones in place while they heal.

Recovery:

A strength and rehab program will be issued to reduce risk of further injury. Depending on your injury, foot type, occupation or sport an insole or orthotic may be recommended to help pain and improve foot function moving forward. 

Prevention Tips

While not all foot fractures can be prevented, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of injury:

  • Wear properly fitting shoes with adequate support and cushioning to reduce the risk of falls and trauma. 
  • Avoid high-impact activities or sports that increase the risk of foot injuries.
  • Gradually increase the intensity and duration of physical activity to allow your feet to adapt and strengthen over time.
  • Use proper techniques when exercising or participating in sports to minimize the risk of overuse injuries. 

Foot fractures can be a painful and debilitating condition, but with the right treatment and management strategies, recovery is possible. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a foot fracture, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a qualified podiatrist. As experienced podiatrists at Momentum Podiatry, we recognise the importance of addressing foot fractures promptly and effectively to ensure optimal healing and prevent long-term complications.

Have you had a foot fracture?

Read more about our services to help:   Moon Boots for foot fractures and Sports Injury Management

References: Mayo Clinic

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