Fractures are small cracks that occur in the bones. Because the foot contains many bones, there are plenty of opportunities for fractures to occur.
Fractures can be minor, with little or no bone displacement, or more severe, with complete displacement of the two ends of the bone, requiring surgery to realign. There are closed fractures that do not break the skin, and open fractures, also called compound fractures, that do break the skin.
Foot fractures commonly affect athletes, particularly in sports such as basketball, track and field, tennis, and gymnastics. The most common cause is overuse. When the muscles become overtired, they are less likely to act as shock absorbers. This transfers stress to the bone and often results in fractures.
Non-athletes are also susceptible to foot fractures. Many people lack bone density from osteoporosis and may develop fractures during normal activities like walking. Accidents and stubbing the toes can also cause fractures.
The symptoms of a foot fracture include:
- Sudden, sharp pain in the foot
- Swelling and tenderness
- Visible deformity of the bones
- Inability to move the foot without pain
- Inability to walk or bear weight on the affected leg
If you think you may have developed a fracture in your foot, it is important to see a provider at Lancaster Orthopedic Group right away to ensure that it will heal correctly. The most common treatment is realignment of the bones and casting or splinting to immobilize the joint while the bones heal. For more severe fractures, surgery may be needed to realign the bones properly.