Out of all the bones in your body, approximately one-fourth are found in your feet. There are a total of 26 bones down there, which aid in your ability to stand up and move around. It’s easy to take your feet’s infrastructure for granted when everything is going well, but a painful fracture will be certain to grab your attention. When you suffer a broken foot or ankle, Waukesha Foot Specialists is here to help.
With 26 bones, there is a lot of opportunity for fractures to occur. When you experience pain resulting from a break, it is important to understand where the problem lies. The forefoot, the long part of your foot including the toes, is comprised of 19 bones. The bones in the forefoot are the metatarsals and the phalanges. Metatarsals are the bones that essentially link the toes to the foot and phalanges make up the toes.
Your midfoot is made up of five bones—the navicular, cuboid, and three cuneiforms—and the hindfoot is comprised of the talus and the calcaneus. The foot attaches to the leg at the talus and the calcaneus is your heel bone.
Types of Breaks
The most common type of broken foot is a stress fracture, typically resulting from an overuse injury. These are essentially tiny cracks in the surface of the bone. Improper training, sudden increases in duration or intensity of exercise, or changes in training surfaces (running on a track versus concrete sidewalks, etc.) can all contribute to this.
Stable and displaced breaks are caused by physical trauma, such as accidently kicking something hard or dropping a heavy weight on your foot. A stable break has no shift in bone alignment and would heal on its own just fine if the break remains stable. A displaced break requires realignment because the bone ends do not line up as they should.
Recognizing a Broken Foot or Ankle
The most apparent symptom of a broken bone is sharp, intense pain. When you have a broken foot, the pain is typically severe enough that you will not be able to walk. If the fracture happens to one of your toes, though, you may be able to walk as long as you do not push off with your toes.
In addition to the pain, you will experience swelling and likely bruising. When evaluating your injury, remove your shoe and sock from your good foot and compare the two. This will help you determine how much swelling is present in the injured foot.
Diagnosing Your Condition
Any time you think you have a broken foot or ankle, it is important to come in and see us as soon as possible. Until you are able to come in, keep weight off of your leg and use an ice pack to control the swelling. We recommend that you consider taking ibuprofen or aspirin to provide relief from the pain, as necessary.
When you come to your appointment, we will examine your foot and take X-rays to determine the extent of injury. While doing so, we will want to know how the injury happened, when the pain started, and other relevant information so we can give you the care you need.
Treating the Fracture
The good news about treating a broken foot or ankle is that surgery is rarely required. The main treatment for a stress fracture is going to be rest and staying away from any activity that causes pain at the site of the fracture for a couple of weeks. If your injury is a displaced break, we realign the bone ends and have you keep your foot immobile until healing begins. If a toe is broken, we will “buddy tape” it to an adjacent toe for stabilization purposes.
When you think you’ve sustained a fracture in your ankles, feet, or toes, come in to see Waukesha Foot Specialists so that we can evaluate your condition and provide the appropriate care. Dr. David Guhl and Dr. Amy Miller-Guhl are leading experts who will give you the care you need. Call (262) 544-0700 to schedule an appointment with our Waukesha, WI, office today.