Foot/Ankle Fractures

Foot Fractures

Foot fractures can involve different bones and joints and are classified into several types depending on location.

Causes

Foot fractures commonly occur as a result of a fall, motor vehicle accident, dropping a heavy object on your foot, or from overuse such as with sports.

Symptoms

The common symptoms of a foot fracture include pain, bruising, tenderness, swelling, deformity and inability to bear weight.

Diagnosis

Your doctor diagnoses a foot fracture by reviewing your medical history and performing a thorough physical examination of your foot. Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI or CT scan may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the type of fracture sustained. For most fractures, nonsurgical treatment is advised and includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation of the foot. Your doctor may suggest a splint or cast to immobilize the foot. For more severe fractures, surgery will be required to align, reconstruct or fuse the joints. Bone fragments may be held together with plates and screws.

Ankle Fractures

An ankle fracture is a break in one or more bones that make up the ankle joint. Sometimes ligaments may also be damaged. Ankle fractures are most often caused by motor vehicle accident, rolling or twisting of ankle, and by tripping or falling. People participating in sports such as basketball, football, soccer and skiing are at a high risk of sustaining ankle fractures.

Common symptoms of an ankle fracture include pain and swelling around the ankle, bruising, tenderness to touch, inability to bear weight on the leg, and deformity if the ankle is dislocated.

Following an ankle injury, it is important to have the ankle evaluated by your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Diagnosis is made based on the history of injury and physical examination of the ankle. In addition, the surgeon may order X-ray of the ankle to determine the extent of the injury.

Treatment varies with the type and severity of the injury. The common method of treatment of ankle fractures is adequate rest, ice application, leg elevation, and medications to reduce swelling and pain. A short leg cast or a brace may be applied over the fractured ankle to provide support.

Some ankle fractures are treated with a splint for few days until the swelling subsides. Once the swelling decreases a cast may be placed on the ankle to hold the broken bone in a specific place. Surgery may be needed to realign the bones before placing the splint. During surgery, your doctor may use metal screws, plates, or rods to hold the broken bone intact until healing occurs.