Fractures are broken bones. Foot fractures are very common injuries. It is very important to have proper treatment for fractures in the feet and ankles immediately. There are two types of fractures that occur in the feet and ankles: stress fractures and traumatic fractures.
Stress fractures are an overuse injury. Stress fractures are very small hairline cracks in the bone. You may not even feel any pain with a stress fracture injury. Stress fractures will only show up on x-rays. They develop from over use, such as in high impact sports like running and basketball. These tiny cracks form with the excessive, twisting, and repetitive actions associated with sports activities. If hairline fractures are not treated they can develop into a more severe condition. Several repeated stress fractures will weaken the foot and make it vulnerable to more severe traumatic fractures. The most common sites for stress fractures are at the 2nd metatarsal, 3rd metatarsal, heel bone (calcaneous), the outer ankle bone (fibula), and the navicular (bone at the top of the mid-foot).
Traumatic fractures are usually sudden injuries that occur during an accident or an immediate action. They occur when a bone is bent, twisted, crushed, or stretched. Toes are often fractured when an individual accidentally stubs his toe. Heels are often fractured when a person falls from a height and lands on his or her feet. Other bones fracture in the feet when they get twisted, like a sprained ankle. Traumatic fractures cause pain, swelling, and redness or bruising. Usually the pain is so bad with this type of fracture that the injured person is unable to walk.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
X-rays are used to initially identify the fractures. In cases that the x-rays are negative but there are signs of a fracture, an MRI may be necessary. Treatments for a fracture in the feet depend on which bone is injured and what type of fracture is found. Some fractures require crutches and a cam-walker. While some fractures require splints or a cast, others require surgery to repair the fracture.