Of the 26 bones in your foot, 19 are toe bones (phalanges) and metatarsal bones (the long bones in the midfoot). Fractures of these bones as well as the ankle are common and require immediate evaluation by a specialist. A fracture is a break in the bone and can be divided into two categories: traumatic fractures and stress fractures.
Traumatic fractures (also called acute fractures) are caused by a direct blow or impact—like seriously stubbing your toe or twisting your ankle in a fall. Traumatic fractures can be displaced or nondisplaced. If the fracture is displaced, the bone is broken in such a way that it has changed in position (dislocated). Treatment of a traumatic fracture depends on the location and extent of the break and whether it is displaced. Surgery is sometimes required.
Signs and symptoms of a traumatic fracture include:
• You may hear a sound at the time of the break.
• Immediate pain at the place of impact
• Deviation (misshapen or abnormal appearance) of the foot, ankle, or toe
• Bruising and swelling almost immediately after the injury occurs
• Inability to walk or put weight on your foot / ankle
Stress fractures are tiny, hairline breaks that are usually caused by repetitive stress. Stress fractures often afflict runners who, for example, too rapidly increase their running mileage. Or they may be caused by an abnormal foot structure, deformities, or osteoporosis. Improper footwear may also lead to stress fractures. Stress fractures should not be ignored, as the bone can separate and not heal if left untreated.
Symptoms of stress fractures include:
• Pain with every step and limping
• Pain that goes away when resting and then returns when standing or during activity
• Pain at the site of the fracture when touched
• Persistent swelling, with or without bruising
Without proper treatment, an untreated fracture can lead to crippling arthritis and chronic pain. The foot and ankle surgeons at Da Vinci Foot & Ankle should be seen for proper diagnosis and treatment, even if initial treatment has been received at the emergency room or urgent care. Call today for an evaluation: 706.999.9994 or request and an appointment online here.