A foot fracture is a break in any of the bones in the foot.
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This injury is caused by trauma from:
- Blows or object falling on the foot
- Severe twists
- Stress on a weakened bone
Things that may raise your risk are:
- Health problems that result in falls, such as weak muscles
- A sudden increase in activity
- High-impact or repetitive sports, such as gymnastics, basketball, tennis, or running
Symptoms may be:
- Swelling and bruising
- Numbness in the toes or foot
- Problems moving or walking
- Changes in the way the foot looks
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will be asked how the injury happened. An exam will be done, focusing on the foot.
Images of the foot may be taken. This can be done with x-rays.
How it is treated depends on whether the injury is mild or severe. Options may be:
Initial care may be:
- Ice to ease pain and swelling
- Medicine to ease pain
- A splint, walking boot, stiff-soled shoe, or cast to keep the bones of the foot in place as it heals
- Crutches to keep weight off of the foot
- Exercises to help with strength and motion
Children's bones have growth plates that let bones grow and harden with age. A child with this type of fracture will need to be checked over time to make sure the bone heals the right way and keeps growing.
Putting Bones Back in Place
Some fractures cause pieces of bone to come apart. These pieces will need to be put back into place. This may be done:
- Without surgery—anesthesia will be used to ease pain while the doctor moves the pieces back into place
- With surgery—pins, screws, or plates may be used to reconnect the pieces and hold them in place
Most fractures are due to accidents. Healthy bones may prevent injury. This may be done through exercise.
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Foot fractures and dislocations. Patient UK website. Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Foot-Fractures-and-Dislocations.htm. Updated February 23, 2015. Accessed September 24, 2019.
Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/stress-fractures-of-the-foot-and-ankle. Updated March 20, 2017. Accessed September 24, 2019.
Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00379. Updated March 2015. Accessed September 24, 2019.
Toe and forefoot fractures. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00165. Updated June 2016. Accessed September 24, 2019.
Welck MJ, Hayes T, et al. Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. Injury 2017 Aug;48(8):1722-1726.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM Last Updated: 8/25/2020