About Foot & Ankle Fractures

In this video we talk about Ankle Fractures, their treatment and way to avoid complications.

 

The foot is made up of 26 bones and can be divided into three parts: the forefoot, the midfoot and the hindfoot. When any of these bones are broken or fractured, you have a broken foot.

 

It's important that fractures and breaks are immediately diagnosed and properly treated to increase your chances of avoiding surgery or permanent damage.

 

Our physicians employ the latest diagnostic and treatment technologies. They are trained trauma specialists with decades of experience and a national reputation of California’s most knowledgeable podiatrists.

With many bones in the foot, there are many types of foot and ankle fractures, including:

 

Broken Toes and Metatarsal Fractures

Is a Toe Fracture the same as a Broken Toe?

Yes! A “toe fracture” is another way to describe a broken toe. There are several different named conditions for broken toes depending on which bone or toe is affected.

 

Painful toe breaks are usually the result of a stubbing injury. The toe typically hits the side of a table or solid object and is rotated sideways causing a fracture to occur.

 

What is a Metatarsal fracture and how do they occur?

Metatarsal fractures are common, especially at the base of the fifth metatarsal. In most cases, the fracture occurs from some type of trauma including a fall, landing on the foot wrong or twisting the foot and ankle. Most metatarsal fractures heal without surgery.

 

However, there is an area of the fifth metatarsal which is notorious for non-healing. This type of metatarsal fracture, called a "Jones Fracture," may require surgery.

 

Treatments for a Fractured or Broken Toe

The treatment for a toe fracture is usually to splint the fractured and adjacent toe, in a corrected position. This can be supplemented with a protective shoe. In rare cases, the toe may be dislocated and need to be re-aligned before it is splinted. Metatarsal fractures that are out of position or not healing usually require a simple surgery with screws and/or plate fixation and a period of no walking while wearing a cast.

 

Read more about broken toes, metarasal breaks, Jones fractures and their treatments.

 

 

Midfoot Fracture (Lisfrancs Fracture Dislocation)

Fractures to the middle portion of the foot (also called Lisfranc fractures) are often the result of a forceful movement, as in dropping a heavy object on your foot. A fall or a twist of the foot could also produce a midfoot fracture. Lisfranc fractures are named after the French doctor who first defined them. They are often missed on initial x-rays or misdiagnosed as an ankle sprain.

 

Treatment Options for Midfoot Fractures

If the fractured bones are not out of position, your doctor may cast the area and have you refrain from bearing weight for about six weeks. After the cast is removed, you may have to wear a rigid arch support. Physical therapy will strengthen the area and help to restore full range of motion. Surgery is often required when the bones are not aligned.

 

Read more about midfoot and Lisfranc fractures here.

 

 

Rear Foot and Heal Fracture (Calcanea Fracture)

How does one usually fracture their heel?

Fractures of the heel bone (calcaneus) or ankle bone breaks (talus) typically occur after a high velocity injury, such as a fall or motor vehicle accident. Due to the force of the injury, the damage is often extensive and often requires surgery. These injuries can lead to arthritis of the ankle and subtalar joint.

 

Conservative Treatment Options for a Heel Break

In cases of simple heal break the use of a cast and crutches with a possible electrical bone stimulator to allow for rapid healing may be used. It often will take about 6-8 weeks of no weight on the foot to allow the fracture to heal and then another 6-8 weeks of physical therapy is necessary to get the patient back to normal walking.

 

Surgical Treatment for Heel Fractures (Calcaneal fracture)

In most cases of a calcaneal fracture, it is necessary to perform surgery to realign the heel bone, especially to get the cartilage surface that articulates with the talus in proper position. In general, if the cartilage is off by more than 2 millimeters, there is a good change of arthritis developing. Part of the problem with a calcaneal fracture is that the heel bone is like an egg with very thin walls. With trauma, the walls crack into multiple pieces and shift around causing cartilage damage.

 

The goal of surgery is to realign the heel under the leg, decrease the width of the heel and also to realign the cartilage surface as close to normal levels as possible. Fixation is achieved with a large plate and multiple screws, which allow better positioning of the small pieces of broken heel bone.

 

 

Ankle Fracture / Broken Ankle

What are Causes of an Ankle Fracture

Fractures of the ankle, also called a broken ankle are commonly the result of a rotational or rolling injury; much like how the ankle rolls when it's sprained. A high impact injury, as in a car accident or fall, can also result in an broken ankle.

 

Treatments for a Broken Ankle

Treatment options for a broken ankle differ depending on the severity of the injury. If the broken bones are not out of place and the ankle is stable, the injury can usually be treated non surgically. These treatment options include: walking boot, cast or removable brace.

 

However, if the ankle is unstable, broken in more than one place, or the fracture is out of place, surgery may be required align the joint in the correct position.

 

Read more about ankle breaks and fractures and their treatments.

 

 

Stress Fractures

A stress fracture differs from a break in that a stress fracture is usually caused by repeated stress and motion, not by a single trauma.

 

Symptoms a stress fracture

Patients with a stress fracture often report:

    • Pain that is worsened with increased or repetitive activities.
    • Localized swelling in the area of the fracture that becomes worse with activity
    • Slight burning from the swelling
    • Point tenderness to pressure in the area of stress fracture

 

How do we diagnose a stress fracture?

Stress fractures are usually not seen on initial x-rays, but may show up over several weeks with an increased amount of bone formation as the bone heals. Sometimes an MRI or a bone scan may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

 

Foot and Ankle Stress Fracture Treatment Options

Foot and ankle stress fractures are treated with non-weight bearing to the affected area, and may require crutches and a cast or cast boot until the bone heals. Often, a bone stimulator which is a non-painful machine that speeds up healing is used.

 

After the bone is healed, an orthotic or custom insole may be used to decrease the pressure on the fracture region and allow uniform pressure distribution across the foot and ankle.

 

 

Why choose UFAI podiatrists for treatment of your Foot and Ankle Fractures?

 

University Foot and Ankle Institute podiatrists employ cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment technologies and have a national reputation as having Southern California’s most-knowledgeable physicians on staff.

 

Our Podiatrists, surgeons and physical therapists are the very best in California. Request an appointment with a doctor at our Los Angeles or other Southern California offices.

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