With nearly a quarter of all the bones of your body located in your feet, it’s not surprising that one of the more common conditions we see at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists are fractures. Symptoms of a fracture are pain, swelling and sometimes bruising. Generally speaking, fractures fall into two categories:
General Bone Fractures—these are the type people are most familiar with. General bone fractures usually occur as a result of any injury, a trauma such as dropping a very heavy object on your foot or from a twisting injury. In this type of break, the fracture goes all the way through the bone. A fracture may be stable—which means there is no shift in how the bones line up, or displaced—which means the bone alignment has been shifted and the ends no longer meet the way they should. A bone fracture may also be open—the bone breaks through the skin or closed—bone does not break through the skin.
Stress Fractures—these fractures are a little trickier to detect. With a stress fracture, the bone is not completely broken. Instead, there are very tiny cracks in the surface of the bone. The symptoms may come and go but, if untreated, will usually get worse over time. Stress fractures are usually caused by overuse or they can be the result in a sudden increase in the intensity of an exercise, poor training techniques or a change in the surface where the fitness activity takes place.
How a fracture is treated will depend on the type and severity of the break. Our podiatrists, George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Carl Conui, D.P.M., and Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M. will use x-rays and other imaging studies to evaluate a fracture. Treatment inevitably includes immobilizing and resting the foot with the broken bone to allow healing to occur. Icing the area and using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications may be suggested to relieve pain and swelling. In the case of a very bad fracture or one where displacement of the bone has occurred, surgery may be necessary.
Remember that being able to bear weight on your foot does not mean that it is not fractured. If you have injured your foot and are experiencing signs of a fracture, contact our Reading office for an appointment.