What is a foot fracture?
There are many bones in the human foot, some of which are very small. In fact, almost 25% of the body’s bones are housed in the feet. Thankfully, a fractured, or broken toe or forefoot bone is usually not serious or disabling. However, foot bone fractures are still painful and require proper diagnoses and treatment.
Bones are susceptible to two kinds of fractures: stress and general. Stress fractures are small fissures or cracks in the surface of the bone and usually occur in the forefoot, or the area from the mid-foot extending to the toes. General fractures travel into the bone beyond its surface and can be stable or displaced, as well as closed or open. Displaced fractures occur when bone ends no longer stay in proper alignment with one another. With an open fracture, the broken bone pierces through the skin.
The fifth metatarsal, or pinky toe, is vulnerable to several types of different fractures. Ankle-twisting injuries can cause avulsion fractures; with this, the tendon that attaches to the fifth metatarsal bone tears, pulling a tiny piece of the bone away. A Jones fracture is a more serious injury occurring at the base of the fifth metatarsal, which can restrict blood flow in this area that already receives less blood flow due to its location on the foot.
What Are Some Causes of Fractures?
- Stress fractures from sudden exercise increases or overuse
- Jarring jumps or falls
- Accidents causing hard blows or impacts to the foot
- Falling objects that crush bones in the foot
- Twisting hard enough to cause the bones to snap or break
What Are Symptoms of a Fracture?
- Bruising of the injured area
- Tenderness and sensitivity to touch
- Difficulty walking or putting weight on the foot
How Is a Fracture Treated?
- Apply ice to the area and elevate the affected lower leg to lessen swelling
- Wear a compression wrap, stiff orthopedic shoe, or walking boot to immobilize and protect the foot
- Keep weight off the foot and rest it as much as possible