The human body is remarkably durable. People can weather quite a lot of stress and physical difficulty—but there’s always a breaking point, even for your bones. Fractures are serious injuries that leave you in pain and unable to support your own weight. There are several types of foot fractures, and all of them need prompt treatment to avoid potentially permanent side effects.
Bones break when they are pushed past their normal ability to handle pressure, shock, or hard impacts. Normally this happens suddenly and painfully as the result of an accident. Tripping, falling, landing incorrectly, or getting hit playing sports are some of the most common ways people break their feet. Stubbing a toe, dropping something heavy on themselves, or getting crushed in a car accident are also common.
A break can range from a small, well-aligned crack to multiple displaced fractures. The symptoms tend to be similar, though. You feel immediate, sharp pain. You’ll suddenly have trouble putting weight on the affected foot, if you’re able to do so at all. The area around the damage will swell and possibly bruise. Your foot will feel very tender to the touch, too.
Stress Fracture vs. Full Breaks
There is one type of fracture that is slightly different. A stress fracture is a thin crack in bone tissue that develops over time in response to repetitive trauma or strain. As such, it’s usually the result of an overworked foot rather than a sudden accident. The damage isn’t as severe, though it can get worse over time, and it may heal more quickly than other foot fractures.
How to Take Care of Broken Feet
The good news is that a broken foot can fully recover if you take care of it quickly and properly. You’ll need to have your foot x-rayed to check the extent of the damage and look for any complications. Our team at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC will help with this. Once we have an idea about how serious the foot fractures are, then we can help you begin care.
A simple stress fracture or an aligned break just needs to be kept stable as the bone tissue grows back together. If the ends of the broken pieces are not aligned, however, they will have to be manipulated back into place before your foot can heal. Without this step, the pieces may never properly rejoin and be prone to future breaks—or you may develop a permanent bump or other deformity. For most people, this can be done conservatively. Occasionally this does require surgery, particularly if the ends need to be held in place by screws or other hardware.
Once the pieces are all aligned, your lower limb will be immobilized in a cast or a special boot. You will wear this for several weeks while the bones recover. You might need to avoid putting any weight at all on your lower limb while your foot heals. Once your bones are ready, you’ll slowly begin adding weight and pressure to them again. Most likely you’ll need physical therapy to restore range of motion and strength to your lower limbs at this point.
A full recovery does take time, but it’s the only way to restore your lower limbs to full strength and stability. If you’re at all concerned you may have a fracture, small or otherwise, don’t hesitate to get the help you need. Our team at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC is here to help you take care of your foot bones. We’ll make sure you get the care you require as soon as possible. Call (504) 708-4810 to make an appointment at our Metairie, LA, office. You can also contact us through our website.