The foot is made up of 26 bones. With so many bones, and some quite delicate, it can make them vulnerable to injury. In fact, one in every ten bone fractures happen in the foot. Treatment for fractures and the length of recovery will vary depending on the location and the severity of the break. Should you fracture your foot, taking the time to recover is important. Here’s more about recovering for a fractured foot.
Symptoms of a Fractured Foot
Hairline or stress fractures in the foot are caused by overuse and start to develop over time. Other fractures are the result of an accident or injury and may result in broken or shattered bones. Either way, a fractured foot is painful, and cause swelling and tenderness. Often there is visible bruising to the affected area. A foot fracture can make walking and weight bearing uncomfortable and difficult. Symptoms of a foot fracture can be similar to that of a sprain, bone spur or other foot condition, so it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to get the correct diagnosis and the right treatment.
If you suspect you have a foot fracture, take care to treat the immediate symptoms while reaching out to your podiatrist for next steps. The most effective initial treatment is the RICE protocol – that’s Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation – until you are able to undergo an X-ray to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for a fractured foot depends on which bone or bones have been broken and the severity of the break. Minor fractures (hairline fractures and those where the bones have not moved out of place) typically are treated non-surgically. Treatments can include rest; taking pain relief and/or anti-inflammatory medications; wearing a cast, splint, rigid shoe, or walking boot; and using a walking aid such as crutches or a knee walker/scooter to get around until the fracture heals. Continued icing and elevation can relieve swelling. For more serious foot fractures, surgery may be required to realign the bones to ensure they heal correctly.
It can take up to eight weeks for a minor fracture to fully heal. For fractures requiring surgery, recovery can take much longer. Following surgery, a protective cast or splint is usually worn while your bones heal. Canes or crutches, scooters, and a special boot may also be required as you move toward achieving more mobility. For serious fractures such as a hindfoot fracture, it can take up to a year to heal completely. Failure to allow for adequate healing can potentially cause further damage and re-injury to the bones, which may lead to additional surgery.
Physical and Occupational Therapy
Physical therapy is commonly recommended to ensure a successful recovery. Physical therapy helps increase range of motion, strength and flexibility and can reduce the risk of future injuries. Occupational therapists can help you to use walking aids correctly if required, as well as help you navigate your work environment to allow you to maintain functionality at work.
It is important to attend all follow up appointments with your physician and attend all physical therapy sessions throughout your treatment and recovery periods to ensure the fracture is healing properly and recovery is a success.
Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care for Foot Fractures
Remember: left untreated, fractures can lead to arthritis, deformity, and problems that can affect your entire musculoskeletal system. If you are experiencing foot pain as a result of a recent injury or if you suspect you have a foot fracture, seek immediate medical attention. At Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care, our team of expert podiatrists have advanced clinical experience and use cutting-edge treatments to treat your foot condition – from fractures to neuropathy and everything in between. To schedule an appointment, call us today at the most convenient location nearest you, or request and appointment online. We’re here to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.