Broken Foot (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Broken foot facts
- What is the structure of the foot?
- What are the causes of a broken foot?
- Pictures of the bones in the foot
- What are the symptoms of a broken foot?
- When should I call the doctor for foot pain?
- How is a broken foot diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a broken foot?
- What are the complications of a broken foot?
- Can a broken foot be prevented?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What are the complications of a broken foot?
As with any injury, complications may occur.
- Broken bones may fail to heal, causing a non-union that may require surgery to repair.
- If the fracture line enters a joint surface, arthritis may develop, even if the joint surface has been aligned by surgery.
- Open fractures may be complicated by infection and damage to underlying structures like tendons, arteries, and nerves.
- Though it is uncommon, crush injuries to the foot may cause significant swelling in the tight spaces of the foot, leading to compartment syndrome. Should the pressure in one of these compartments rise above the patient's blood pressure, blood flow to the rest of the foot may be compromised. This is a surgical emergency and fasciotomies, incisions into the foot compartment, are performed to allow space for the swelling to occur, relieve the pressure, and restore blood supply to the foot.
Can a broken foot be prevented?
The foot is placed under considerable stress on a daily basis, absorbing the pounding of walking, running, and jumping. Poorly-constructed and -cushioned shoes and obesity help contribute to stress fractures and general instability of the foot.
High-impact sports that include twisting and direct blows to the feet increase the risk of fracture. Appropriate protective equipment will help decrease the risk of injury.
Certain occupations increase the risk of foot injury. These include the construction trades in which weights may be dropped on a foot, or falls from height may occur.
People with osteoporosis or peripheral neuropathy may have increased risk of foot injury. For these people, it is important to decrease the clutter around the house to prevent injury from falling. It is also helpful to limit the number of throw rugs in a home that can cause a person to trip and fall.
UpToDate. Toe fractures in adults.
UpToDate. Foot fractures (other than metatarsal or phalangeal) in children.
UpToDate. Metatarsal and toe fractures in children.
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