Foot and Ankle Fractures

A fracture is a break in a bone. An osteotomy is a purposely made fracture. Typically during surgery when the surgeon needs a cut in the bone he will create a fracture. An avulsion is also a fracture of a bone, but this occurs because of a strong attachment of the soft tissue causing the bone to break. A stress fracture, is a fracture in which repetitive motion will force the bone to break. All types of fractures heal in the same manner. If a bone does not heal in the typical time frame then it is said to be a delayed healing or delayed union fracture. If the bone fracture does not heal at all then it is termed a non-union.

Symptoms and causes of a fracture typically occur following a traumatic event. The bone can be twisted, pulled, pushed, crushed, slammed, torqued by any means in which a fracture may form. Typically severe pain is associated with fractures. Those with neuropathy may not feel a fracture as happens with Charcot’s Deformity commonly in patients with diabetes. Those with “weaker” bones as occurs with osteoporosis may be more prone to having a fracture. Typically swelling and bruising accompany a fracture. The person may or may not be able to put any weight on the foot or ankle that is broken.

Diagnosis of a fracture is by radiographic examination using x-rays. A fracture is typically seen on x-ray as soon as the injury occurs, with exception of some stress fractures. If you suspect you have a fracture of the foot or ankle do not delay medical attention by your podiatrist

Podiatric Care of a fracture typically involves immobilization with a cast, splint, or dressing. You may or may not need crutches or a walker to keep all weight off the foot or leg. Swelling is controlled with compression, anti-inflammatory medications, and elevation. Closed reduction by manipulation may be used to re-align the fractured bones or surgery may be recommended if the bones will not align properly.

Surgery is commonly performed for fractures of the foot or ankle for accurate anatomical alignment and appropriate healing. The bone will heal according to bone healing principles.