Fractures of the Foot or Ankle
Everyone relies on dozens of bones in their foot to support their body in motion or at rest. When bones break, due to injury or disease, the results can last a lifetime if not treated correctly. The podiatry and foot surgery team with Southwest Foot and Ankle Center in Lewisville and Plano provide expert care for the wide variety of possible fractures in feet, ankles and toes.
Types of Fractures
Bones may break in a variety of ways and at different levels of severity. If the broken bone punctures the skin, for example, it is called an open or compound fracture. Fractures commonly happen during car accidents, falls or sports injuries, but can also occur due to low bone density and osteoporosis. Overuse also can cause stress fractures, which are very small cracks in the bone. Ankle breaks can be partial cracks, complete fractures that separate the entire ankle bone, or may occur on one or both sides of the ankle.
While some people may tell you that a broken bone in the foot or toe cannot be treated, that is not true. In fact, fractured toes or metatarsal bones that are left untreated can cause complications such as deformity, chronic pain, arthritis, and failure to heal correctly.
Symptoms of a Broken Foot or Ankle
- Swelling, bruising or bleeding
- Intense pain
- Numbness and tingling
- Out-of-place limb/joint
- Limited mobility or inability to move
You should seek medical care right away for any foot or ankle fracture. In some instances, you may need to wear a cast or splint for a few weeks or months. In other cases, however, surgery will be recommended to install plates, pins or screws to hold the parts of the broken bone in place while healing. The hardware may be temporary or permanent.
Severe fractures in particular may require surgery when:
- The ends of the bone are out of line (displaced)
- The fracture involves the ankle joint
- There are fractures in two or three parts of the ankle
- Tendons or ligaments are torn
- Conditions cause reduced healing without foot surgery
- In children, the fracture involves the part of the ankle where bone is growing
Recovery From a Fracture
Without surgery, your foot/ankle will be placed in a cast or splint for several weeks, depending on the location or type of fracture. Even broken toes can be splinted or taped together for support during the healing period. In general, your podiatrist may change your cast or splint more than once as swelling goes down. In most cases, your doctor will recommend that you not put any weight on your broken foot or ankle for a set period of time.
Your foot doctor may also give you a special weight-bearing walking boot as healing progresses. Even after the cast or splint is removed, your foot will likely be weaker and smaller. To combat stiffness and strengthen muscles, physical therapy exercise may be prescribed.
Throughout the entire fracture treatment process, the team of podiatry and surgery specialists will be there for you. Southwest Foot and Ankle Center utilizes the most advanced techniques and equipment to help you recover.