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Understanding Foot & Ankle Fractures

The foot and ankle are composed of numerous bones that work together to provide support, balance, and mobility. The foot consists of 26 bones, including the tarsals, metatarsals, and phalanges, while the ankle comprises three main bones: the tibia, fibula, and talus. Fractures can occur in any of these bones, ranging from small cracks to complete breaks.

Types of Foot & Ankle Fractures

  • Stable Fractures: The broken bones remain in place and are properly aligned.
  • Displaced Fractures: The broken bones are misaligned and may require realignment.
  • Stress Fractures: Small cracks in the bone caused by repetitive stress or overuse.
  • Open (Compound) Fractures: The broken bone pierces the skin, increasing the risk of infection.
  • Closed Fractures: The broken bone does not break the skin.

Causes and Risk Factors

Foot and ankle fractures can result from various factors, including:

  • Trauma: Falls, car accidents, or direct blows to the foot or ankle can cause fractures.
  • Sports Injuries: Activities that involve running, jumping, or sudden changes in direction, such as basketball, soccer, or gymnastics, can lead to fractures.
  • Osteoporosis: A condition that weakens bones, making them more susceptible to fractures.
  • Repetitive Stress: Overuse or repetitive activities can cause stress fractures, particularly in athletes or military personnel.
  • Improper Footwear: Wearing shoes that do not provide adequate support can increase the risk of fractures.


The symptoms of foot and ankle fractures can vary depending on the severity and location of the injury. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Immediate and severe pain at the site of the fracture, which may worsen with movement or weight-bearing activities
  • Swelling around the injured area due to inflammation
  • Discoloration of the skin around the fracture
  • Visible deformity or abnormal shape of the foot or ankle
  • Difficulty or inability to walk or put weight on the affected foot or ankle
  • Sensitivity to touch over the fractured bone

Diagnostic Process

Diagnosing foot and ankle fractures involves a thorough medical evaluation, including:

  • Medical History: Discussing how the injury occurred, your symptoms, and any previous foot or ankle injuries with your healthcare provider.
  • Physical Examination: Assessing the affected area for pain, swelling, deformity, and range of motion.
  • Imaging Tests: X-rays are commonly used to confirm the presence and extent of the fracture. In some cases, an MRI or CT scan may be needed to provide more detailed images.

Treatment Options

Conservative Care

For stable or less severe fractures, non-surgical treatments can help manage symptoms and promote healing:

  • Immobilization: Using a cast, brace, or splint to keep the foot or ankle in place and allow the bone to heal properly.
  • Rest: Avoiding weight-bearing activities and giving the injured area time to heal.
  • Ice: Applying ice packs to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Elevation: Keeping the injured foot or ankle elevated above heart level to minimize swelling.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as NSAIDs to manage pain and inflammation.

Surgical Treatment: Hammertoe Correction

Surgery may be necessary for more severe fractures, especially if the bones are displaced, unstable, or involve multiple fragments. At Excel Health, we offer surgical options to realign and stabilize the bones, ensuring proper healing and restoring function. Surgical procedures may include:

  • Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF): Realigning the bones and securing them with screws, plates, or rods.
  • External Fixation: Using an external frame to hold the bones in place during healing.
  • Bone Grafting: Transplanting bone tissue to support the healing process.

Our surgical team at Excel Health utilizes advanced techniques to minimize recovery time and achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients.

Rehabilitation and Recovery

Once the initial healing phase is complete, physical therapy can help restore strength, flexibility, and range of motion. You can begin gradually increasing weight-bearing activities as recommended by your healthcare provider to ensure proper healing. Regular follow-up appointments to monitor healing progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

Preventing Foot & Ankle Fractures

Preventing foot and ankle fractures involves taking steps to protect your bones and reduce the risk of injury:

  • Proper Footwear: Wearing supportive shoes appropriate for your activities.
  • Strength and Flexibility: Regular exercises to strengthen the muscles around your feet and ankles and improve flexibility.
  • Avoiding Overuse: Incorporating rest periods into your activities to prevent repetitive stress injuries.
  • Safe Practices: Using caution on uneven surfaces and during high-risk activities to avoid falls and trauma.

Contact Us

With proper care and attention, most people recover fully from fractures and return to their normal activities. At Excel Health, we are committed to providing comprehensive care and personalized treatment plans to help you navigate the recovery process and maintain optimal foot and ankle health.

If you experience symptoms of a foot or ankle fracture, contact Excel Health for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan. Our dedicated team is here to support you every step of the way, ensuring you receive the highest quality care.

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