Health Library

Foot Fracture

Definition

A foot fracture is a break in any of the bones in the foot.

Phalanx Fracture of the Foot
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Causes

This injury is caused by trauma from:

  • Falls
  • Blows or object falling on the foot
  • Collisions
  • Severe twists
  • Stress on a weakened bone

Risk Factors

Things that may raise your risk are:

  • Health problems that result in falls, such as weak muscles
  • A sudden increase in activity
  • High-impact or repetitive sports, such as gymnastics, basketball, tennis, or running

Symptoms

Symptoms may be:

  • Pain
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Numbness in the toes or foot
  • Problems moving or walking
  • Changes in the way the foot looks

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms, past health, and injury. An exam will be done, focusing on the foot.

Images of the foot may be taken. This can be done with x-rays.

Treatment

How it is treated depends on whether the injury is mild or severe. Options may be:

Initial Care

Initial care may be:

  • Ice to ease pain and swelling
  • Medicine to ease pain
  • A splint, walking boot, stiff-soled shoe, or cast to keep the bones of the foot in place as it heals
  • Crutches to keep weight off of the foot
  • Exercises to help with strength and motion

Children's bones have growth plates that let bones grow and harden with age. A child with this type of fracture will need to be checked over time to make sure the bone heals the right way and keeps growing.

Surgery

Surgery may be needed for severe fractures or those that are not healing well.

Prevention

Most fractures are due to accidents. Healthy bones may prevent injury. This may be done through exercise.

Resources

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
http://www.sportsmed.org

Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
http://www.orthoinfo.org

Canadian Resources

Canadian Orthopaedic Association
http://www.coa-aco.org

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
http://www.canorth.org

References

Foot fractures and dislocations. Patient UK website. Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Foot-Fractures-and-Dislocations.htm. Accessed September 24, 2020.

Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/stress-fractures-of-the-foot-and-ankle. Accessed September 24, 2020.

Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00379. Accessed September 24, 2020.

Toe and forefoot fractures. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00165. Accessed September 24, 2020.

Welck MJ, Hayes T, et al. Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. Injury 2017 Aug;48(8):1722-1726.