Fractures of foot and ankle bones are relatively common injuries especially among athletes, children, and seniors.
Your feet and ankles contain 52 bones altogether—26 on the left, 26 on the right—and many of them are vulnerable to jamming, twisting, slipping, and cracking. They also have to withstand the full weight of your body walking, running, and jumping every day.
Broken bones in the feet can mean a lot of pain and loss of your ability to accomplish daily tasks. Without proper care, breaks can worsen, fail to heal properly, or lead to chronic post-traumatic arthritis. Fortunately, you can find that quality care right here at Canyon Foot + Ankle.
How Can I Tell If My Foot Is Broken?
Some breaks will be obvious, especially if there is a noticeable deformity or dislocation in the shape of the foot. However, not all fractures are detectable based on purely a physical examination. An X-ray may be required to confirm the diagnosis.
Symptoms will vary based on the location and nature of the fracture, of course. The most common include moderate to severe pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty (or impossibility) bearing weight.
The majority of fractures occur suddenly during an accident, such as a twisted ankle, slamming your feet into a surface, or a crush injury from an auto accident or dropping a heavy object. However, stress fractures are the exception. These are cracks in bone that develop gradually from repeated overuse, and are most common in the metatarsal bones of the arch and forefoot. Without treatment, stress fractures can worsen into more serious breaks.
What Should I Do If I Suspect I Have a Broken Foot?
If the break is severe—broken skin, misshapen foot, foot is cold or numb, or extreme pain are all pretty good signs—you should seek emergency care immediately.
If you suspect a break, it’s important to get off your feet and avoid bearing weight or moving the broken area as much as possible. Do not attempt to walk or drive. Contact our office to be examined as soon as possible (or, if we aren’t available, go to the ER or urgent care). In the meantime, attempt to stabilize and compress the injury, keep it elevated, and ice the area for around 20 minutes every hour.
Treatment for Fractured Feet
At Canyon Foot + Ankle, our medical team provides comprehensive care for all traumatic foot and ankle fractures. Each case must be independently evaluated—not only the condition itself, but also the lifestyle goals and needs of the patient—in order to prescribe the appropriate treatment protocols.
Not all broken bones require foot surgery. If the ends of the broken bone are not displaced (stable fracture) or can be manually manipulated into position, for example, you will likely only need a cast, crutches, and a bit of time. For the most part, broken bones can heal themselves successfully if they have been repositioned properly and can remain immobilized during the healing process.
More substantial fractures may require surgery to reposition and repair the broken bones. Sometimes internal fixation hardware, such as screws or pins, may be required to hold the bones in place during the healing process.
We are also proud to be able to offer advanced MLS laser therapy to our patients when appropriate. Although MLS is most frequently associated with treatment of soft tissue injuries, the laser energy has also been shown to stimulate the bone's healing and repair process. Patients who undergo MLS laser therapy as part of their treatment and rehabilitation may see significant reductions in overall healing and recovery time.
When you need personalized, effective, and exceptional care for your foot or ankle fracture, please call Canyon Foot + Ankle. We have two convenient Magic Valley locations to serve you in Twin Falls: (208) 733-0436 and Burley: (208) 678-2727.