Your feet are built to endure high levels of stress, but activities like running and playing sports increase your risk of foot and ankle fractures.
The specialists at Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center (OFAC) in Falls Church and Arlington, Virginia, provide individualized treatment for all types of fractures, whether from overuse, sports injuries, or trauma. If you’re looking for foot and ankle fracture care in the Washington, DC, area, call or request an appointment online today.
Fractures Q & A
What is a fracture? Back to top
A fracture is a broken bone. Bones can break in numerous ways, from a hairline stress fracture that’s barely visible on an X-ray to a shattered bone that breaks into multiple pieces. Broken bones that poke through your skin (open fractures) are considered a medical emergency that requires immediate care.
What fractures affect the foot and ankle? Back to top
Feet are highly complex and strong structures, each of which contains 26 bones. A foot or ankle fracture may involve any one of these bones, including:
- Talus, or ankle bone
- Calcaneus, or heel bone
- Tibia and fibula, the two long bones of the lower leg
- Metatarsals, or the long bones of your forefoot
A stress fracture at the base of the fifth metatarsal, which is on the outer edge of your foot, is called a Jones’ fracture. This injury is very common in runners and people who have a high arch.
Severe fractures in the midfoot may cause the ligaments that hold your bones together to tear. This can lead to a foot dislocation.
What are the symptoms of a foot or ankle fracture? Back to top
Fracture symptoms vary depending on the type, location, and severity of the injury. Fractures that result from acute trauma, like a bad fall, typically cause sudden, intense pain. Stress fractures usually develop gradually, so they may cause pain that’s mild at first and worsens with activity.
Common symptoms of a foot or ankle fracture include:
- Foot or ankle pain
- Visible deformity
- Swelling and bruising
- Difficulty walking on the injured foot
Because the symptoms of a fracture may resemble those of a severe ankle sprain, accurate diagnosis at Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center is imperative.
How are fractures diagnosed and treated? Back to top
First, your provider at Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center reviews your symptoms and asks how the injury occurred. They carefully examine your foot, ankle, and lower leg and take an X-ray to look for broken bones.
Then, they develop an individualized treatment plan for your specific type of fracture. Depending on your needs, treatment may include:
- Wearing a brace, splint, or cast
- Resting the foot
- Anti-inflammatory medications
Severe fractures may require surgery to reset the broken bones and repair any damaged soft tissue, like ligaments. The surgeons at Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center perform minimally invasive surgery whenever possible.
If you think you may have a foot fracture, call Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center or request an appointment online today.