Foot and Ankle Fracture
What causes a foot or ankle fracture?
Bones usually break when something crushes, bends, twists, or stretches the bone. Most bones break suddenly during an accident or direct injury.
Occasionally, small cracks can form in bones over a long period of time from repeated stress on the bones. These are called stress fractures.
What does it feel like?
Fractures are typically characterized by:
- Inability to walk or difficulty walking
How is a foot or ankle fracture treated?
Treatment for a broken bone in the foot or ankle depends on which bone is broken and how it is broken. Typically, a broken bone in the foot or ankle is treated by:
Ice: Applying ice to the injury will counteract the increased blood flow to the injury, reducing the swelling and inflammation.
Do not apply the ice directly to the skin. Use a towel or bag to wrap the ice, as direct exposure to the skin may cause frostbite.
- Elevation: Prop the injured foot or ankle up so that it is elevated above the level of your heart. This helps promote healing by allowing your body to absorb fluid that has leaked into the tissue following the injury.
- Splinting: Wearing a splint will keep pressure off of the injury.
- Taping: If you have a broken toe, you may tape your injured toe to the good toe next to it using medical tape. Cotton balls or other padding may be placed between the toes. This form of treatment will provide support and promote healing.
- Rest: Keeping off of your injured foot or ankle will prevent further injury and promote proper healing.
- Anti-inflammatory medicine: Medicine such as ibuprofen will help reduce pain and swelling.
- Crutches: Using crutches will help you with mobility, while also keeping weight and pressure off of the injury.
- Cast: A cast can best hold the broken bone in a specific place so that it heals properly.
- Surgery: Surgery is needed for many types of ankle fractures. While not always necessary, surgery for ankle fractures is not uncommon.The goal is always to achieve and maintain alignment of the broken bone.