Bone is an incredibly strong substance. It gives your body shape and withstands significant amounts of pressure. However, it isn’t invincible. Like other solid objects, it has a limited ability to flex and give under stress. If you exert enough force on it, it will crack. You have 26 bones in each of your feet, providing you with a structure that allows you to stand up and move around. These bones interact with each other in such a way that they are able to absorb shock while still supporting your weight. Having that many bones handling high pressure, though, also offers more opportunities for a fracture.
Giving Out Under Strain
Fractures are any sort of break in a bone, from small cracks to full splits. They can be stable breaks, where the bones stay aligned, or displaced, where the bones are shifted from their natural positions. The more displaced they are, the more serious the fracture. Whether the condition is mild or serious, however, you need to have it treated right away. The bones need to be aligned and stabilized to recover properly. If left on their own, the problem may heal incorrectly, leaving you with chronic pain, weakness, or even a deformity.
You can break your foot many ways and in many different places. Often the problem occurs because of a sudden, traumatic injury, though it is possible for a stress fracture to develop into a full break. When the injury occurs, the pain is sharp and immediate. The area around the affected bone will mostly likely bruise and swell. You may also have trouble walking or even putting weight on that foot.
Casts and Splints
When you think you’ve broken a bone in your lower limbs, you need to have it examined right away to identify the specific problem and begin treatment. Dr. Robert Parker will evaluate the affected area and request diagnostic images like X-rays to get a clearer picture of what is happening inside your foot. Once the affected bone has been identified, he will work with you to determine the best way to protect the injury and facilitate a quick recovery.
You will have to rest and remove weight from the foot until you have recovered. To relieve the discomfort, you’ll need to reduce the swelling, so you may need to ice the area. We may recommend anti-inflammatory medications to help lower swelling and alleviate the pain. The foot will need to be immobilized as you heal, too; casts or boots are used for more serious fractures, while splints or braces may be all you need for a simple one. If your toe is broken, sometimes taping it to its neighbor, called buddy-taping, is enough to hold it stable. Once the bones have recovered enough for you to return to your activities, you may need physical therapy to build up your strength and endurance again to prevent another break.
If you suspect that you may have broken a bone in your foot, don’t wait to see if it will feel better on its own, risking chronic pain and weakness developing out of a poorly-healed injury. Though it does interrupt your activities, taking care of a foot fracture now protects you in the long run. Contact Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston for an appointment or more information and eliminate your pain. Call (281) 497-2850 or visit our contact page online to reach our office.