Ankle & Foot Fractures
What exactly is a fracture?
A fracture is just another word for a partial or complete break in a bone. Your foot and ankle are comprised of many different bones. Because of this there are many different varieties of foot and ankle fractures. Your fracture’s type and severity is dictated by the amount of stress placed on the bone as well as your age.
Why do fractures happen?
Your foot or ankle fracture could be the result of a variety of things ranging from a traumatic event like falling from a ladder or being in an automobile accident to simply slipping on ice in your driveway or losing your balance on an uneven sidewalk.
How is a fracture diagnosed?
After taking your medical history, your Summit foot and ankle specialist will examine your injured foot or ankle. To arrive at a diagnosis, your surgeon will ask how your injury occurred or when your pain started. X-rays are crucial to diagnosing a fracture. However, some stress fractures are too small to show up on an x-ray, requiring your surgeon to order CT or MRI scans.
What are my treatment options?
At Summit, our surgeons take a conservative approach, which means we explore all non-surgical treatment options whenever possible and depending on your unique situation. The type and severity of your fracture will determine the course of treatment your foot and ankle physician recommends. In more severe cases, orthopedic surgery may be necessary.
What can I expect my results to be after treatment?
Most stress fractures will heal with the conservative measures outlined above. Sometimes, however, surgery is needed. If your bone fails to heal while immobilized, surgery may be required. Acute fractures that involve a displaced bone, multiple breaks, or those that fail to heal with conservative care also require surgery. Your foot and ankle surgeon will determine the type of procedure that is best suited for you.
How long until I’m better?
Whether your treatment is surgical or non-surgical, a cast or boot is typically worn until the fracture is fully healed, which usually takes 2-3 months. After your fracture heals, several weeks of physical therapy often helps you regain strength and restore function to get you back to your everyday, active life.
Summit foot and ankle expert Michael Anderson, D.O., explains the most common, treatable causes of foot pain in this two-part article series.