A foot fracture is a break in any of the bones in the foot. The foot is made up of 26 small bones. The tarsus is the seven bones that make up the hindfoot and the midfoot. The forefoot consists of the five metatarsals and the 14 phalanges. There are two phalanges in the big toe and three in each of the remaining toes. A foot fracture can happen in any foot bone, but metatarsal fractures are the most common.
A foot fracture is caused by trauma to the bone. Trauma includes:
- Blows or object falling on the foot
- Severe twists
When a bone is subjected to repeated stress over a long time, small cracks may form. These are called stress fractures. Certain bones (metatarsals and the talus) in the foot are at higher risk for this type of fracture.
A foot fracture is a break in any of the bones in the foot.
The foot is made up of 26 small bones. The tarsus is the seven bones that make up the hindfoot and the midfoot. The forefoot consists of the five metatarsals and the 14 phalanges. There are two phalanges in the big toe and three in each of the remaining toes.
A foot fracture can happen in any foot bone, but metatarsal fractures are the most common.
Phalanx Fracture of the Foot Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms, physical activity, and how the injury occurred. The injured area will be examined and an x-ray of the foot will be done.
To help reduce your chance of foot fractures, take these steps:
- Do not put yourself at risk for trauma to the bone.
- Do weight-bearing and strengthening exercises regularly to build strong bones.
- Wear proper padding and safety equipment when participating in sports or activities.
To help reduce falling hazards at work and home, take these steps:
- Clean spills and slippery areas right away
- Remove tripping hazards such as loose cords, rugs, and clutter
- Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and shower
- Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower or tub
- Put in handrails on both sides of stairways
- Walk only in well-lit rooms, stairs, and halls
- Keep flashlights on hand in case of a power outage
Factors that may increase your chance of a foot fracture include:
- Advancing age
- Certain diseases or conditions that result in bone or mineral loss, such as abnormal or absent menstrual cycles, or post menopause
- Certain diseases and conditions that weaken bones, such as tumors or cysts
- Decreased muscle mass
- Sudden change in activity or exercise program, such as becoming a military recruit
- High-impact or repetitive motion sports, such as gymnastics, basketball, tennis, or running
A foot fracture may cause:
- Pain, often severe
- Bruising and swelling in the injured area
- Numbness in toes or foot
- Decreased range of motion
- Inability to walk comfortably
- A lump or visible deformity over the fracture site
Proper treatment can prevent long-term complications or problems with your foot. Treatment will depend on how serious the fracture is, but may include: