Fractures

All it takes is a drop, a trip, a slip, or an accident. Then suddenly you have an intense, throbbing pain in your foot or ankle. Your breath catches and the thought runs through your mind: Is it broken?

Fractures are never fun, and any potential fracture in your foot or ankle should always be promptly evaluated and treated. Making sure a fracture heals correctly is key to reducing your risks of chronic pain and other complications in the future.

Types of Fractures

There are many bones in the foot and ankle (in fact, more than 25% of the total bones in your body are in this area!), which means there are a lot of bones that can potentially break.

In general, fractures come in several types:

  • A stress fracture is a break that does not go through a bone, but rather along its surface. It tends to be the result of repetitive forces and overuse against the foot.
  • A stable fracture is a fracture that has extended through the bone, but the pieces have not shifted. Usually, immobilization is all that is needed for the bone to heal.
  • A displaced fracture is one where one or more of the bone pieces has shifted out of alignment. Some manipulation is likely needed to return the bone to its proper place.
  • An open fracture is one where the bone has broken through the skin and is especially serious. If the skin has not broken, it is considered a closed fracture.

While many fractures can be generally categorized with the above criteria, the foot has some more unique types of fractures as well.

The fifth metatarsal (one of the bones of your little toe) can be more susceptible to stress fractures or full breaks since the area receives less blood supply. This is known as a Jones fracture and can take longer to heal than a normal fracture. The fifth metatarsal can also experience an avulsion fracture, which is when a small piece of bone is torn off the main portion by the pull of a tendon or ligament.

Avulsion fractures can also occur in the ankle if it is severely twisted. A tendon can also be torn in the process.

    Types of Fractures

    There are many bones in the foot and ankle (in fact, more than 25% of the total bones in your body are in this area!), which means there are a lot of bones that can potentially break.

    In general, fractures come in several types:

    • A stress fracture is a break that does not go through a bone, but rather along its surface. It tends to be the result of repetitive forces and overuse against the foot.
    • A stable fracture is a fracture that has extended through the bone, but the pieces have not shifted. Usually, immobilization is all that is needed for the bone to heal.
    • A displaced fracture is one where one or more of the bone pieces has shifted out of alignment. Some manipulation is likely needed to return the bone to its proper place.
    • An open fracture is one where the bone has broken through the skin and is especially serious. If the skin has not broken, it is considered a closed fracture.

    While many fractures can be generally categorized with the above criteria, the foot has some more unique types of fractures as well.

    The fifth metatarsal (one of the bones of your little toe) can be more susceptible to stress fractures or full breaks since the area receives less blood supply. This is known as a Jones fracture and can take longer to heal than a normal fracture. The fifth metatarsal can also experience an avulsion fracture, which is when a small piece of bone is torn off the main portion by the pull of a tendon or ligament.

    Avulsion fractures can also occur in the ankle if it is severely twisted. A tendon can also be torn in the process.

      Treating Fractures

      Depending on the location, type, and severity of a fracture, different forms of treatment may be required.

      If the fracture is stable, the area may be immobilized in a boot or cast. Weight will likely have to be reduced or eliminated from the fracture until it has a chance to mend. Otherwise, few additional actions are required.

      If the fracture is out of place or further complicated, the bone may need to be manually set back in place. In some more severe cases, surgery may be needed to reposition the bone fragments and hold them in place with screws, rods, and/or plates.

      It is very important to follow all instructions and recommendations during recovery. If a broken bone doesn’t heal properly—especially in the ankle—it can lead to instability, a higher risk of sprains and fractures in the future, and even chronic pain and arthritis.

      A broken bone is never something to take lightly. Even if you’re not sure you have a fracture, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (972) 293-9650. We would rather you be safe than sorry!

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        Location

        1801 N. Hampton Road
        Suite 340
        DeSoto, TX 75115

        Inside the Inwood National Bank Building on the 3rd Floor

        Contact

        p. (972) 293-9650
        f.  (972) 291-2533

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