Studies demonstrate that foot fractures are among the top common fracture injuries assessed by physicians. It’s not surprising considering the foot is comprised of 26 different bones. When any of these structures receive unexpected or repetitive impact, whether sports or trauma related, the likelihood for a foot fracture to occur increases.
At OrthoAspen, our elite-grade specialists are educated and experienced in treating foot fractures, utilizing the most innovative approaches. It’s our goal to ensure that our patients return to their active lifestyles as quickly—and as safely—as possible.
In addition to repetitive impact-related exercise such as running, jumping and similar sports-oriented activity, dropping a heavy object on the foot or abrupt force to the foot, can cause fractures.
As previously stated, the foot contains 26 bones, which are divided into three major parts:
- The Hindfoot
Contains two bones, the talus bone which connects to the bones of the lower leg and the calcaneus bone which forms the heel
- The Midfoot
Comprised of the navicular, cuboid and three cuneiform bones
- The Forefoot
Made up of five metatarsal bones and 14 toe bones (phalanges)
Muscles, tendons and ligaments support the bones and joints of the feet. This is what enables them to withstand the entire body’s weight while walking, running and jumping. Even despite this protection, trauma and stress can cause fractures in the foot. Extreme force is required to fracture the bones in the hindfoot. The most common type of foot fracture is a stress fracture, which occurs when repeated activities produce small cracks in the bones.
Foot fractures involve different bones and joints that are classified according to the type of fracture:
- Calcaneal Fractures
This type of fracture affects the heel bone and occurs mostly as a result of high-energy collisions. It can cause disabling injuries, and if the subtalar joint is involved, it’s considered a severe fracture.
- Talar Fractures
The talus bone helps to transfer weight and forces across the joint. Talus fractures usually occur at the neck or mid portion of the talus.
- Navicular Fractures
Navicular fractures are rare and include mostly stress fractures that occur with sports activities, such as running and gymnastics, because of repeated loading on the foot.
- Lisfranc Fractures
This type of fracture occurs due to excessive loading on the foot, which leads to stretching or tearing of the midfoot ligaments.
Symptoms of a foot fracture include:
- Inability to bear weight
- Snap or grind noise when the injury occurs
- Difficulty in range of motion of the foot/ankle
To properly evaluate a potential foot fracture injury, your OrthoAspen physician begins by reviewing your medical history and performs a thorough physical examination of your foot. Imaging tests such as X-rays, an MRI or a CT scan may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. Navicular fractures can be especially difficult to diagnose without imaging tests.
Treatment depends on the type of fracture sustained. Whenever possible, our OrthoAspen Foot and Ankle team will attempt to apply conservative treatment methods.
For mild fractures, non-surgical treatment is advised and includes:
- Elevation of the foot
- Splint or cast to immobilize the foot when necessary
More severe foot fractures may require surgery. If your OrthoAspen surgeon suggests surgery, a surgical procedure will be performed to align, reconstruct or fuse the joints (based on the specific type of fracture). Bone fragments may be held together with plates and screws.
Physical therapy is often recommended to improve range of motion and strengthen the foot muscles. Weight-bearing, however, should be a gradual process with the help of a cane or walking boot. Our ultimate goal at OrthoAspen is to get you back in motion following a safe and effective treatment protocol.
If you’re concerned that you may have experienced a foot fracture, simply click here to book a consultation with one of our expert orthopedic foot and ankle specialists, or call us anytime at 970-544-1289.