A broken foot is a very common injury. In fact, about 1/10 of all broken bones happen in the foot. They may happen while in a car crash, a sporting event, or a simple fall or misstep. The severity of the injury can range from small fractures to shattered bones that pierce and penetrate the skin. The foot is divided into three parts – the forefoot, the midfoot, and the hindfoot – and a break can occur in any part. Symptoms of a broken foot include a throbbing, immediate pain. You may hear a snap when the injury occurs. Pain usually increases with activity, and it may be extremely painful putting any weight on the foot, making it difficult to walk. There may be a deformity, especially if it is a severe break and the bone penetrates the skin. There may also be tenderness, bruising, and severe swelling.
A broken foot can be caused in many different ways. The sporting event they are most common in is hockey. They usually happen in hockey as a result of blocking a shot. Bones tend to break when some direct trauma causes it to twist, bend, or be crushed. A slap shot off the foot can do just that. Other high-impact sports such as football, rugby, and mixed martial arts tend to see a high number of broken feet. A broken foot is not isolated to sports, however. Falls can result in a broken foot, as can landing on your feet after a high jump. Dropping something heavy on your foot can also cause it to break, as can car accidents. Lastly, a simple misstep can also cause a broken foot, as putting your foot down in an awkward way can cause the bone to break.
A broken foot is a pretty easy thing to notice. Once you realize you have a broken foot, there are a few things you can do before you go to the hospital. Try to make a splint to prevent the broken foot from moving. Wrap a pillow around the foot and tape it in place with a bandage. Make sure the bandage is not wrapped too tight, as it could potentially cut off blood supply. You should also try to keep your foot elevated above the level of your heart to reduce pain and swelling. You can also reduce pain and swelling by icing the injured foot. Make sure the ice pack is wrapped in a thin cloth or towel to avoid skin damage. Ice the area for approximately 20 minutes at a time every hour. You will need to go to the hospital, however. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication if you are experiencing a significant amount of pain. A broken bone needs to be immobilized in order to heal, which usually requires a cast. In some cases, you may need screws, plates, or pins to hold the bones in place during the healing, which requires surgery.
In general, a broken foot takes between 12 and 15 weeks to heal. This depends on the severity of the break, however, and how your body responds to treatment. While your foot is in a cast, you will require crutches to get around. Once the cast has been removed, you can begin range-of-motion activities, such as counter-clockwise and clockwise rotations. As your break heals, you can start weight bearing and strengthening exercises. To prevent a broken foot, make sure you have appropriate footwear for all activities. This means steel-toed boots in a work environment, hiking shoes on rough terrain, and proper athletic shoes. Make sure your athletic shoes are replaced regularly. Cross-training is also important, as it can relieve some of the pressure you put on your feet. You can also build bone strength through your diet with calcium-rich foods such as yogurt, cheese, and milk. The A.A.O.S. has more information on broken and fractured bones in the foot.