If you’re counting, each foot contains 26 bones while each ankle has 7 bones. With a set of two, that equals 66 bones total—nearly one-third the total bones in your body! Unfortunately, it’s also a lot of opportunity for fractures.
You don’t always have to hit hard to experience a fracture in your foot and ankle. Some breaks come from taking a wrong step and twisting your foot in just the wrong way. Others can result from repetitive overuse as part of running, dancing, or other activities.
Whatever the cause and severity, however, a broken bone in your foot or ankle is never something to ignore!
When Should I See You About a Break?
Depending on the location and intensity, it is not always immediately obvious that you have a broken bone in your foot or ankle. Sometimes it might be easy to pass off a break as a bad sprain.
Typical symptoms of a broken bone include:
- Sudden, throbbing pain at the time of fracture
- Pain that builds with activity and decreases with rest
- An obvious deformity in shape
- Difficulty walking or bearing weight
Not all symptoms ever have to be present for a fracture. If you have at least one of these symptoms that does not improve within a day or so, you should always give us a call! And if you can’t bear weight on your foot or ankle, don’t even wait a day; call us as soon as possible.
Types of Fractures
Not every fracture is the same. Here are a few of the more common types we see in our office:
Stress Fractures are not the clean snap many think of first when they hear the term “fracture.” Instead, these are cracks that appear along the surface of a bone. Stress fractures tend to occur when a bone has been weakened through overuse and has not had time to recover. Those who engage in high-impact sports on the feet, such as running, dancing, and soccer, are at a higher risk of stress fractures.
An Ankle Fracture is self-explanatory. While they are common in youth sports, they have also become more common in the active and older Baby Boomer generation. Ankle fractures that don’t heal properly can lead to increased risks of ankle instability and further ankle fractures over time, so treating them carefully is very important.
Toe Fractures often result from a direct blow, such as a heavy object dropped on the forefoot or running into a table leg. They can also result from overuse in sports such as running and basketball.
Metatarsal Fractures are breaks in the bones at the base of your toes, in your forefoot. The fifth metatarsal, on the outer edge of your foot, is most commonly fractured. This can happen due to a direct blow, but also due to twisting and excess pulling on the bone from its attached tendon.
Treating Foot and Ankle Fractures
The sooner a fracture is diagnosed and treatment started for it, the faster and more effective healing will usually take place. Continuing to bear weight or not secure a fracture may lead to further complications.
A thorough examination of a potential broken bone is always needed to make sure we know exactly what we’re dealing with. As you might expect, this will usually involve X-rays or other imaging tests.
In some cases, such as with many toe and metatarsal fractures, nothing more is needed than to ensure the bone is properly set and immobilized. This might involve the use of a boot, or taping a broken toe to its healthy neighbor.
In other situations, surgery may be required to properly set and repair a bone. We are fully prepared to conduct such procedures in our offices—no need to go elsewhere!
If you suspect you have broken something—or you’ve had pain that is not improving—do not hesitate to give Total Foot & Ankle a call! We have two convenient offices to serve you.
- Oklahoma City: (405) 947-8041
- Enid: (680) 237-3338