Each foot contains 28 bones, which makes them incredibly susceptible to fractures. A foot or ankle fracture, without prompt diagnosis and treatment, can lead to serious complications, including non-healing, deformity, and chronic pain. There are even certain serious fractures that, again, left untreated, could lead to amputation. Board certified foot and rear foot surgeon Michael Howell, DPM, has years of experience treating fractures. To schedule your appointment at the Coldwater, Michigan office call today.

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What is a foot fracture?

A foot fracture occurs as a result of an injury to one or more of the bones in your feet. Some of the most common causes of foot fractures include sports-related injuries, automobile accidents, missteps, falls, and crush injuries.

The severity of foot fractures depends on the underlying cause. Every day wear-and-tear can result in a small hairline or stress fracture, while severe breaks may splinter the bone into multiple pieces, and can even pierce your skin. Fractures most often require surgical attention, though sometimes casting and immobilization is also appropriate.

What are the symptoms of a foot fracture?

The symptoms of a foot fracture vary from person-to-person and depend on the location of the broken bone. Common indications include:

  • Throbbing pain
  • Pain that gets worse during activity
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Visible deformity 

If you experience a foot fracture, you might find it difficult to put weight on the affected foot or move around comfortably.

Who is at risk of experiencing a foot fracture?

Anyone can experience a foot fracture, but several factors increase your risk. For example, if you’re physically active and play high impact sports like football or basketball, you may be more likely to suffer a blow or impact. In addition, certain medical conditions can make you more susceptible, including diabetes mellitus and osteoporosis.

Some work environments can also increase your risk of a foot fracture. If you work around heavy equipment on a construction site or in a warehouse, you run the risk of a slip and fall injury or dropping something on your foot.

Other factors that can contribute to a foot fracture include abnormal gait pattern, poor shoe gear, or a sudden increase in physical activity.

How is a foot fracture diagnosed?

To diagnose a foot fracture, Dr. Howell physically examines your affected foot and asks you about the injury and its symptoms. He will order an X-ray to be done in his office to confirm or rule out a fracture. In addition, he may order a CT or MRI to get a more in depth look at the bones, joints, and soft tissues in your foot.

How is a foot fracture treated?

Treatment for a foot fracture depends on its location and severity. If you have a stress fracture, Dr. Howell may be able to treat you with a walking boot, a brace, or physical therapy. To ease your pain, he will likely encourage you to rest, use ice, and possibly take over-the-counter anti-inflammatories.

For more serious fractures, surgery may be necessary. During foot and ankle surgery, Dr. Howell supports your broken bones with screws, pins, and plates. These tools hold your affected bones in place and promote healing. In the majority of cases, hardware can stay in place for your entire life. However, there are instances when it may be removed several months after healing is complete, as a routine outpatient surgical procedure. In general, fractures usually take 6-12 weeks to heal.

To explore your treatment options for a foot fracture, schedule an appointment with Michael Howell, DPM, at his office in Coldwater, MI. Call the office today.