Foot and Ankle Fractures: What To Look for (Land O' Lakes)
Foot and ankle fractures are more common than you might think. While we often see this injury in athletes, this is an injury that can happen to anyone. Simply stepping off the curb the wrong way could land you in our office.
Of course, some people mistake their fractures for simple sprains and other minor injuries and don’t get the care they need, opting instead to treat the problem on their own. Since untreated or improperly treated foot and ankle fractures can lead to long-term pain and instability, it’s important that you recognize the signs of a fracture, so you know when it’s time to see a podiatrist.
Everything from overuse to a movement that suddenly twists the ankle out of place can leave you dealing with a fractured foot or ankle. Here are some of the identifying signs that you could be dealing with a fracture,
- Sudden and often severe pain
- Pain that gets worse when putting weight on the foot
- Trouble walking
- Visible deformity or bump
- A popping sounds at the moment of injury
It’s hard to believe that the foot is made up of 26 bones, so it is possible that one of these smaller bones could be fractured and you might not even know it; however, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or notice recurring or persistent foot or ankle pain, it’s time to see a podiatrist.
Treating Fractured Feet and Ankles
It’s important to get a definitive diagnosis from one of our podiatrists before you start treating the problem. How we recommend treating your fracture will really depend on the severity of the injury. More mild fractures can benefit from the RICE method of care, which stands for,
You can also take NSAIDs such as ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling. Those with more severe fractures may need to wear a splint, brace or boot, or use crutches. After the fractured bone has healed, we may recommend physical therapy to help strengthen and retrain the muscles, ligaments, bones, and tendons in the feet and ankle to improve functionality, mobility, range of motion, and balance. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged bone.