Broken Foot Vs Sprain
You may have difficulty determining if your foot is broken or sprained. This is normal because the symptoms of the two conditions overlap. In general, a broken foot tends to be more painful than a sprained foot, and the pain lasts longer. Bruising, swelling, and tenderness are also more severe if your foot is broken.
Another way to tell the difference between a broken foot and sprained foot is the sound the body makes when the injury occurs. If you have a sprain, youre more likely to hear a popping sound. If you have a fracture, then youre more likely to hear a cracking sound. Keep in mind that not all sprains or fractures make sounds when they happen.
You may need to see a doctor and get an X-ray to determine if your foot is broken or sprained. An X-ray will show the fracture and help your doctor determine the treatment plan.
The Foot Stress Fracture Test
If you experience point tendernesswhen a specific bone is sore to the touchthat could signal a stress fracture. If you suspect a stress fracture in your foot, performing whats called the hop test is a good way to figure out if you have point tenderness. Carefully, hop a couple of times on the injured foot. If you have pain when you land, it could be a stress fracture.
Swelling in the affected area is another common sign. While you could see swelling anywhere, the most common place people experience noticeable swelling is on the top of foot due to a stress reaction or fracture in the metatarsals. Metzl notes that you may lose the contour of the veins on the top of the foot when you compare one foot to the other.
Changes in your biomechanics while running could also be a sign of a stress fracture. So if youre in so much pain that you need to adjust your form, consult your doctor right away. If you notice youre not landing on your foot the same way you usually do because it hurts too much, get it checked out, Metzl says.
What Can You Do For A Broken Foot
First aid at home may include RICE . Rest may include the use of crutches to limit weight bearing as tolerated. If the decision is made to seek medical care, this regimen may be continued once the patient is discharged from the hospital to go home.
The treatment of a foot fracture depends upon what bone is broken, the mechanism of injury, the underlying medical condition of the patient, and whether the fracture is open or closed .
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Stress Fractures Of The Fifth Metatarsal Base
Stress fractures at the base of the fifth metatarsal deserve special attention. This injury was first described by Sir Robert Jones in the early 1900s, and since then the injury has often been referred to as a Jones fracture. This injury may present itself as the onset of pain on the outside of the midfoot, often without acute injury. It is particularly common in high-level athletes.
Stress fractures of the fifth metatarsal base are challenging to treat because the body’s blood supply to this area is poor and, therefore, healing takes longer.
Nonsurgical management typically consists of non-weightbearing immobilization for at least 6 weeks. Your physician may prescribe vitamin D, a bone stimulator, or other methods to increase the healing potential. You are usually not able to return to sports until 12 weeks post-injury.
In some cases for instance, if you are a high-level athlete your doctor may speak to you about surgical options to stabilize the bone and increase the healing potential. Surgery may involve placement of a screw, bone grafting, or a combination or plates and screws. To obtain the best outcome, it is very important to follow the post-surgical activity restrictions that your doctor recommends.
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Is It Possible To Prevent A Broken Foot
- The foot is placed under considerable stress on a daily basis, absorbing the pounding of walking, running, and jumping. Poorly-constructed and -cushioned shoes and obesity help contribute to stress fractures and general instability of the foot.
- High-impact sports that include twisting and direct blows to the feet increase the risk of fracture. Appropriate protective equipment will help decrease the risk of injury.
- Certain occupations increase the risk of foot injury. These include the construction trades in which weights may be dropped on a foot, or falls from height may occur.
- People with osteoporosis or peripheral neuropathy may have increased risk of foot injury. For these people, it is important to decrease the clutter around the house to prevent injury from falling. It is also helpful to limit the number of throw rugs in a home that can cause a person to trip and fall.
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Blood Clots And Deep Vein Thrombosis
Because your lower limb is immobilised and youll be moving less than normal, youre at higher risk of developing a blood clot or Deep Vein Thrombosis . This can be life threatening if left untreated.
Symptoms of DVT in the leg are:
- throbbing or cramping pain in one leg , usually in the calf or thigh
- swelling in one leg
- warm skin around the painful area
- red or darkened skin around the painful area
- swollen veins that are hard or sore when you touch them.
These symptoms can also happen in your arm or tummy if thats where the blood clot is.
More information about DVT
Preventative medication for DVT
If you have been told not to put any weight through your leg, you should have been assessed in ED or MIU and told if you need to take preventative medication.
If you havent had this conversation please call your GP for an urgent appointment.
If you have a Lisfranc injury, you will have been prescribed a course of a blood thinner. You may need to take tablets or inject the medication into your tummy.
How Many Bones Are In The Foot
The foot is designed to withstand the considerable forces placed on it by walking, running, and jumping. There are 26 bones of the foot, connected by joints and supported by thickened ligaments to absorb the impact of movement. In addition, the joints of the foot are affected by muscles and tendons that allow flexing and extending to permit walking and running to occur.
Bone anatomy of a foot is as follows:
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Complications From A Broken Foot
Complications of a broken foot are uncommon but may include:
- Arthritis. Fractures that extend into a joint can cause arthritis years later. If your foot starts to hurt long after a break, see your doctor for an evaluation.
- Bone infection . If you have an open fracture, meaning one end of the bone protrudes through the skin, your bone may be exposed to bacteria that cause infection.
- Nerve or blood vessel damage. Trauma to the foot can injure adjacent nerves and blood vessels, sometimes actually tearing them. Seek immediate attention if you notice any numbness or circulation problems. Lack of blood flow can cause a bone to die and collapse.
What If The Pain Gets Again Worse
If the pain gets worse then you should seek medical advice. The expected pattern of healing, in bony injuries of any kind, is that they should gradually hurt less as healing occurs, and that any gradual worsening of pain suggests that the injury is also getting worse, or that you have a fresh injury.
If your foot pain is increasing over time then your activity may be making an existing problem worse. In the case of a stress fracture this may mean progression to an acute fracture. In the case of an acute fracture it may be worsening displacement of the bones and preventing the two ends of the bone from knitting together. Always return to your doctor or health professional for further advice if you have gradually worsening symptoms.
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What Is A Stress Reaction Or Stress Fracture
A stress reaction can be considered similar to a deep bone bruise, which arises from trauma or overuse. Stress injuries can be classified on a spectrum upon diagnosis: early or late . A stress reaction that goes untreated will develop into a stress fracture. In a stress fracture, a small crack develops from repetitive trauma, which is usually caused by overuse. Overuse injuries account for almost 50% of all sports injuries.
How Stress Fractures Occur
Stress fractures dont occur as the result of an injury or accident, but develop over time. The movements involved in high-impact sports, like running, basketball, tennis, and track and field, involve repetitive activities that are more likely to cause stress fractures.
You may be living with a stress fracture if youve made rapid changes in your activities without allowing time for proper conditioning. This can occur when you suddenly increase the frequency or number of days in which you participate in an activity or change from one type of activity to another.
Using a different exercise surface, like moving from a treadmill to outdoor running, can change the way you put weight on your foot and make you susceptible to stress fractures. Other practices, like using improper equipment or wearing ill-fitting footwear, can exert pressure in areas unable to support repetitive forces.
Certain physical factors can also increase your risk of developing a stress fracture. Being overweight or having medical conditions like osteoporosis can make your bones more vulnerable to added stress during repetitive movements.
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How Is A Stress Fracture Treated
Stress fractures are treated in several ways. Your doctor will discuss your options based on the location and severity of your fracture. Also, your provider will aim to treat any risk factors you have for future injuries.
Treatments your doctor may recommend can include:
- Stopping the activity that is causing pain. Stress fractures happen because of repetitive stress and overuse, so its important to avoid the activity that led to the fracture.
- Applying an ice pack or ice massage to the injured area.
- Resting for roughly two to eight weeks.
- Cross training by doing non-impact exercise after discussion with your doctor may be allowed. Eventually, once you can perform low-impact activities for extended periods without pain, you can start doing high-impact exercises. Often, physical therapy can be very helpful in returning to activities and making adjustments to avoid reinjury.
- Adjusting your position if there is swelling in your leg, ankle or foot. You can lessen the swelling by elevating your leg raising your foot above the level of your heart while youre lying on your back.
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines to help relieve pain and swelling.
- Using protective footwear to reduce stress on your foot or leg. This may be stiff-soled shoe, a wooden-soled sandal, or a post-op shoe which has a rigid sole.
- Using crutches to keep weight off your foot or leg until the bone heals.
Pain On The Outside Of Your Foot Here’s What Your Body’s Trying To Tell You
From your heel to your instep, pain can happen anywhere in your foot. But when it strikes the outside of your foot, it can be especially excruciating.
Video of the Day
Lateral foot pain â which stretches along the outer edge of the foot and ankle â can make even the simplest movements a challenge.
Here, Nelya Lobkova, DPM, a New York City-based podiatrist at Step Up Footcare, explains why you might be dealing with discomfort on the outside of your foot and how to decrease the ache in your dogs.
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What To Do If You Suspect A Stress Fracture
If you have symptoms common to a stress fracture, its important to get an accurate diagnosis as early as possible. An imaging test, such as an X-ray, MRI, or bone scan, is required to accurately diagnose the location and extent of a stress fracture.
Without proper diagnosis and treatment, a stress fracture can worsen and become a full fracture, causing more intense pain and possible displacement of the affected bone. This can cause long-term damage or the need for surgical correction.
Treatment for a stress fracture usually involves steps to reduce the weight-bearing load on the affected foot. This typically requires allowing your bone time to heal by using the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Your podiatrist advises the appropriate use of pain medication to reduce discomfort and swelling. You may also have to use a walking boot, brace, or crutches to immobilize the affected bone and promote healing.
Find out more about stress fractures and whether you may be risking long-term damage by living with this condition. To schedule a consultation with a podiatrist at Chicagoland Foot and Ankle, call our office, or book an appointmentat one of our four locations throughout the Chicagoland area.
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Are There Different Types Of Break
Breaks can be acute, or caused immediately by injury. They can also occur over a longer period of time, when they are called stress fractures.
An acute metatarsal fracture may be open or closed, and displaced or not displaced:
- Open or closed: an open fracture is one where the skin is broken over the fracture so that there is a route of possible infection from the outside into the broken bones. This is a more serious type of fracture, with more damage to the soft tissues around it making treatment and healing more complicated. Specialist assessment is needed.
- Displaced or not displaced: a displaced fracture is one where, following the break, the bones have slipped out of line. A displaced fracture needs specialist care, as the bones will need to be properly lined up and stabilised. This may involve an anaesthetic and some kind of metal pinning or plating to the bones.
Acute metatarsal fracture is usually caused by a sudden forceful injury to the foot, such as dropping a heavy object on to the foot, a fall, kicking against a hard object when tripping, or from a sporting injury.
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Painful Os Peroneum Syndrome
About 20 percent of people have an os peroneum, a tiny accessory bone that sits within the peroneus longus tendon. And most of the time, it does not cause any discomfort.
But if the bone fractures, or the peroneus longus tendon is tears or gets trapped near the bone , you can have considerable pain. No surprisethe word painful is right there in the name.
Up to 60 percent of the time, the condition will affect both feet. Like peroneal tendinitis, POPS can cause outside foot and ankle pain, swelling, and tenderness, as well as difficulty turning the foot outward or pointing the toes downward.
Youll typically treat the condition the same way youd treat peroneal tendinitis: RICE, orthotics and/or heel wedges, and possibly an ankle brace or walking boot. If conservative approaches are unsuccessful, your doctor may recommend surgery.
Stress Fractures Of The Metatarsal Bones
The second and third metatarsals of the foot, which are thinner than the adjacent first metatarsal, are most prone to stress fractures. This is the area of greatest impact on your foot when you push off to walk or run. Therefore, ballet dancers are at particularly high risk to develop these injuries. People who have a larger second metatarsal bone are also at risk. These fractures typically cause generalized pain in the middle of the foot.
Less commonly, people may have fractures of the fourth and fifth metatarsals, causing pain on the outside of the foot. These fractures can occasionally be more difficult to treat, as some areas of these bones do not receive a large blood supply, which leads to longer healing times.
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The Agony Of Pain On Outer Side Of Foot
Pain on the outer edge of your foot can range from annoying to debilitating.
When the stabbing, burning, or aching is severe, it can limit your ability to stand, walk, exercise, work, or engage in some of your usual activities.
Fortunately, pain on the outer footknown by doctors as lateral foot painis not as common as other types of foot pain, including toe pain or heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis, says Kenneth Hunt, MD, an orthopedist and medical director of the UCHealth Foot and Ankle Center in Denver.
But with at least a dozen different causes, correctly identifying the source of outside foot pain can be challenging.
The differential diagnosis for lateral foot pain is broad, Dr. Hunt says.