Fractures of the feet and ankles can occur at any time and during any activity—from a casual morning jog to an intense athletic competition. Regardless of how they happen, though, foot fractures can significantly reduce your mobility and impair your quality of life.
After the injury, you may experience pain, swelling, bruising, blisters, and other symptoms. Taking more than four steps without pain—sometimes even less—may be impossible. Even if you can bear weight to some extent, it doesn’t mean you aren’t still dealing with a fracture. Even a “simple” ankle sprain might be masking a broken bone underneath.
When you visit our office, the first step is to take an X-ray to visualize the damage and determine a proper treatment course. Often, these fractures do not require surgery. However, our goal is always to ensure anatomic alignment of the fracture for optimal functional recovery, whether this is accomplished through surgical or nonsurgical means.
Because we offer same-day appointments, so you can often skip the ER or urgent care and go straight to a foot and ankle expert, today.
Treatment for Stress Fractures
Sometimes, bones don’t break all the way through. A stress fracture is a small, incomplete crack in bone that occurs from repetitive stress.
Stress fractures are most likely to occur after a recent change in activity—for example, a new exercise or sport, or a sudden increase in the intensity of your workout. Other risk factors include barefoot running or osteoporosis.
In theory, any bone can develop a stress fracture, but the long metatarsal bones in the middle of your feet are the most vulnerable. You may experience pain in the ball of the foot, swelling on top of the forefoot, and occasionally bruising or redness. Pain tends to be chronic and is often worse after walking barefoot.
If not properly treated, stress fractures can worsen into full fractures, which have a longer and more difficult recovery. The earlier you seek treatment—ideally right after symptoms start—the better the prognosis. That is why you should never hesitate to seek a professional evaluation for suspected stress fractures.
Often, initial X-rays will come up negative. However, if your symptoms are consistent with a stress fracture it is best to begin treatment anyway and repeat X-rays in about 2 to 3 weeks. At that time, we may see a small bone callus forming, which is classic sign of a stress fracture.
Proper treatment requires the use of a walking boot for up to 6-8 weeks. We also recommend ice and elevation daily to reduce swelling and pain. Stress fractures that are not treated early and worsen into full fractures may require the use of a cast.
Schedule your appointment with Waco Foot & Ankle today by calling (254) 776-6995.