Do you think you may have a fractured foot?
A fractured (or broken) foot is actually a very common injury. About 10% of all bone breaks in the body happen in the foot.
A broken foot can occur in accidents as serious as car crashes and falls to as simple as missteps and overuse.
If you aren’t completely sure if your foot is broken, there are 5 broken foot symptoms that should help you to determine what’s going on.
Remember that while the following symptoms can be used as a general reference, always contact a qualified podiatrist (foot doctor) to be sure.
A broken foot will typically cause immediate pain so severe, you will not be able to walk properly or put any weight on your foot.
Sometimes even touching the foot with your fingers will cause acute pain, making putting a shoe on almost impossible.
Oftentimes, the pain is a throbbing pain and the foot feels very tender.
Pain is the biggest factor that sends people to the doctor.
If you are in severe pain and cannot walk without limping, see a podiatrist right away for treatment.
*It’s important to note that you shouldn’t confuse having a broken foot with having a broken toe.
If you break a toe you will still usually be able to walk, and the pain will not be as severe as breaking a foot.
All the same, you should see a podiatrist to determine what is wrong.
It’s common for a broken foot to bruise.
You may see black and blue marks on the skin of the foot a few hours to a few days after the injury.
This bruising will take place on the top and/or the bottom of the foot, depending on the nature of the injury.
If you notice swelling of your foot that lasts for more than 2 or 3 days, you should see a doctor.
You can determine if your foot is swollen by comparing the size of your hurt foot to the size of your good foot.
A laceration, otherwise known as a cut or wound, can sometimes involve an open fracture.
If you have a large wound that exposes a broken bone, see a doctor immediately.
This is a very serious injury, and if left untreated it can cause an infection of the bone.
If during the injury the bones were displaced, your foot may appear deformed.
A deformity occurs when there is a dislocation as well as a break.
Although these top 5 broken foot symptoms are common for most people, please note that individuals with peripheral neuropathy (for example, those with diabetes) have altered pain sensations and may not feel the pain of a broken foot.
The same holds true for those with spinal cord injuries.
If you are in either of these groups, you should check your feet daily for swelling, bruising or deformities – as these will be your only signs of a possible break.
With 26 bones in each foot, our feet carry all of our weight.
This makes them susceptible to breaks.
The most common causes of broken foot bones are:
Some people are at a higher risk of breaking a foot than others.
People who participate in high impact sports such as running, soccer, football, snowboarding, skiing and hockey are included in this group.
It’s more likely that someone playing one of these sports will overstress or twist their foot.
They are also more at risk of receiving a blow to the foot area that may cause a break.
Athletes who don’t take the time to warm up properly or who don’t wear good-fitting shoes are also more at risk of breaking a foot.
Others more prone to foot breaks include people who work in environments in which injuries are more likely to occur – such as construction, painting or tree trimming.
Additionally, people with weakened bones due to osteoporosis are at a higher risk of breaking their foot, as are those with neuropathy (poor sensation in the feet).
If you think your foot is fractured, please see a qualified podiatrist as soon as possible.
He or she will be able to determine a proper course of treatment and set you on the road to recovery.
Treatments for a broken foot truly vary, and depend on what bone you broke and how severe the injury was.
No matter how bad the injury is, however, most podiatrists will follow the RICE treatment.
RICE stands for: rest, ice, compression and elevation.
This regimen can be followed daily at home.
When you break your foot, you may also need to wear a cast or a splint for up to 8 weeks.
This will depend on whether or not the broken ends of your bone are still aligned.
If the bones are not aligned, you may need surgery to fix them.
After surgery you will most likely wear a cast so your foot can properly heal.
Once your bone is completely healed, your podiatrist may also recommend physical therapy to loosen any stiff ligaments or muscles.
He or she can prescribe a physical therapist for you to see.
An over-the-counter pain reliever is typically included in the treatment regimen for a broken foot.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen sodium (Aleve) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) are common pills used to help relieve any pain that you’re feeling.
As with most foot injuries, early detection is key.
If you think you may have a broken foot, give us a call today to schedule an appointment to have it evaluated by one of our board certified podiatrists.
We have a state-of-the-art digital x-ray machine right in our office so we can evaluate your injury immediately.
Digital x-rays are much more accurate than traditional x-ray machines.
You can either call us at 301-937-5666 or simply fill out the brief form on the top right of this page.