What is it?
A foot fracture is a break in any of the 26 bones in the foot. Fractures are either traumatic (caused by direct trauma) or stress fractures (caused by repetitive stress on the bone).
Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors
Traumatic foot fractures are much more common and occur in many ways, such as when an object is dropped on the foot, the foot is stepped on or stubbed with force or during an accident. Symptoms of a traumatic fracture include:
- A cracking sound
- Pain in the area of impact that may subside
- Bruising and swelling
- A distorted appearance of the toe
Meanwhile, stress fractures often affect athletes, such as runners or those who run and put stress on the feet as part of their sport or activity. They also may be caused by:
- Improper shoe fit
- Abnormal foot structure
Symptoms of stress fractures include:
- Pain when standing or during or after the activity
- Pain when the foot is touched
A doctor will diagnose a toe fracture by examining the foot, reviewing symptoms and medical history and conducting imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRIs.
Treatment for traumatic fractures includes:
- Using crutches to relieve stress on the foot
- Splinting toes
- Changing or modifying footwear to offer more protection
- Taping the fractured toe to another toe
If pain persists, the doctor may recommend surgery to realign fractured bones. Following surgery, a cast will be used to protect the foot while it heals.