Foot and ankle bone fractures can happen to anyone, at any time. Seeking care for fractures is critical to ensuring that healing occurs as rapidly as feasible. A fracture is a break or injury to the bones. Fractures come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from minor hairline fractures to severe bone breaks. Minor fractures can heal on their own, but more significant fractures will necessitate surgery.
If you have a fracture in your foot or ankle, you should seek treatment from an orthopaedic surgeon who is familiar with the delicate workings of the bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the foot and ankle. Foot injuries are prevalent and can sometimes result in shattered bones. Recognizing the signs of a fractured foot can assist assess how serious it is and when to seek medical attention.
Causes of foot fracture
Although the foot is designed to endure significant stress, breaking bones in the foot or toes is common. Simply stumbling, tripping, or kicking anything might result in a broken foot. A broken bone can also result from an uncomfortable twisting of the foot or ankle caused by falling or being hit by a large item.
Athletes and anyone who participates in high-impact sports such as football, basketball, running, or dance are at a higher risk of stress fractures.
These are small cracks that can grow in size over time. They are frequently induced by repetitive activity or abrupt increases in exercise intensity.
Symptoms of foot fracture
Bones can break in a variety of ways. These might range from little cracks and splinters to full bone severance. Severe fractures can rip or puncture the skin, leaving a wound. These are referred to as open fractures.
A person may not be able to detect if a bone has broken if there is no apparent displacement of the bone or an evident wound. Furthermore, tiny cracks or breaks may not cause any pain. A break is strongly indicated by deformity of a toe or an area of the foot, such as an odd protrusion.
Other indications of a broken bone in the foot include:
- When an injury occurs, you may hear or feel a snap or grinding sensation.
- Foot pain or difficulty moving.
- Walking or bearing weight on the foot causes pain or difficulty.
- When you touch the injury, you may feel discomfort or pain.
- Following the injury, you may feel faint, dizzy, or vomiting.
Difference between broken foot and sprained foot
Foot injuries may result in a sprain rather than a break. Sprains occur when the connective tissue between the bones, known as ligaments, tears or stretches. Sprains and breaks often have identical symptoms, making it difficult to distinguish between the two.
A broken foot, in general, causes more intense and chronic agony. Furthermore, swelling and bruising in the foot are usually more severe if it is caused by a break rather than a sprain.
Sprains, on the other hand, can cause discomfort and limit movement. A doctor will conduct imaging tests to determine whether an injury is a break or a sprain.
First aid for foot fracture that may help you
If a person thinks they may have broken a bone in their big toe or foot, they should always seek medical assistance. But while seeking or awaiting assistance after an injury, they may profit from adhering to the RICE concept. The abbreviation means:
If a person believes they may have fractured a bone, they should avoid putting any weight on the foot until it heals or a doctor can inspect it. Walking too much could make the injury worse.
To relieve pain and swelling from the injury, immediately apply ice to the area. For the first 48 hours, ice packs may be applied for up to 20 minutes, multiple times each day. They shouldn’t put ice packs on the skin immediately.
A soft dressing or bandage should be applied to the foot. They must watch out that the bandage is not overly tight, as this could prevent the blood from flowing.
Use pillows to elevate the foot as much as you can. The foot should ideally be elevated above the level of the heart. Additionally, this reduces discomfort and swelling.
Smaller toe breaks can be supported by taping the fractured toe to the next, unharmed toe. This practice is sometimes known as “buddy taping.” This entails sandwiching a piece of gauze or cotton wool between each toe before taping them together.
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help someone with their immediate discomfort. If it becomes necessary to walk on a broken foot or toe, the person should wear a broad, robust shoe that doesn’t put pressure on the affected area.
The RICE technique can be used to treat a foot or ankle sprain or strain.
Diagnose & treatment options for a broken foot
You should consult with an orthopaedic professional to evaluate a foot and ankle fracture so they can identify the extent of the damage and develop a treatment strategy. It is conceivable that imaging examinations, such as:
- Musculoskeletal ultrasound
- CT scans
- Weight-bearing CT scan
Treatment of a broken foot depends on the type, location, and severity of the fracture. The fracture will often heal with rest and minimal weight-bearing. Ibuprofen or naproxen are examples of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications that can aid in reducing discomfort and swelling.
A bone that is misaligned might need to be manually moved back into place by the doctor. This is referred to as fracture reduction in medicine. Before beginning a reduction operation, a medical expert will normally administer a local anesthetic. Any exposed wounds will also be attended to.
A surgeon may introduce metal pins, plates, or screws into the foot if an injury results in bone distortion or instability in order to keep the bones in place while they recover. Internal fixation is the phrase for this. To protect the foot while it heals, a doctor would prescribe a cast or a safety boot. These tools serve to take weight off the hurt foot while immobilizing and protecting it. Crutches may also be used to help someone walk.
Fixation for foot fractures through orthopedic implants
The bone fragments are first moved (reduced) into their regular alignment during surgery to set a foot fracture. Special implants, including plates, screws, nails, and wires, are used to hold them together.
Internal fixation minimizes nonunion (inappropriate healing) and malunion (healing in the wrong position) of broken foot bones, enabling patients to return to work sooner, and shortens hospital stays.
The robust and long-lasting materials titanium and stainless steel are used to create the implants used for internal fixation.
An external fixator serves as a stabilizing framework to maintain the appropriate alignment of the shattered bones. Metal pins or screws are inserted into the bone using an external fixator through minuscule incisions made in the skin and muscle. The bar outside the skin is where the pins and screws are fastened. External fixators are different from casts and splints, which only provide external support, because pins are placed into the bone.
External fixation is frequently used to treat fractures temporarily. External fixators are frequently employed when a patient has many injuries and is not yet prepared for a lengthy procedure to repair the fracture since they are simple to put on. Until the patient is fit enough for the final surgery, an external fixator offers good, temporary support.
The implant that is used in the procedure will determine whether or not a bone fracture surgery is successful. As a result, Zealmax Ortho manufactures the most trustworthy orthopaedic implants, which have a high success rate and are frequently used in surgery around the world. For all types of bone, we provide a comprehensive selection of implants at affordable prices without sacrificing quality.