broken footFoot Fractures and How to Heal Them

Your body has 206 bones that make up the skeletal system. Slightly over twenty-five percent of them can be found in your feet and ankles. It should be no surprise then that Houston Foot Specialists provides treatment for many of you who suffer from fractures in these extremities. What may surprise you is how many varieties of broken bones there are.

Types of Fractures

Not all broken bones are the same. The following terms highlight several different characteristics these injuries can have:

  • Stable – The fractured ends of the bone line up as they normally would.
  • Simple – The broken bone has not pierced the skin.
  • Compound – Skin has been punctured by either the broken bone itself or by the physical trauma that caused the break.
  • Transverse – The fracture line is horizontal.
  • Oblique – The fracture line is angled.
  • Comminuted – The bone has shattered into three or more pieces.
  • Stress fractures – These are tiny, hairline cracks that develop over time in the surface of a bone as a result of excessive cumulative forces.

Symptoms of a Broken Foot or Ankle

How do you know a bone in your foot has broken? Every unique injury can have a different set of symptoms, but common ones include:

  • Pain, often throbbing and immediate
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Difficulty in bearing weight and walking
  • Deformity
  • Pain that worsens with activity, but improves with rest

It is important to note that a broken ankle can feel a lot like an ankle sprain. That’s why you should schedule an appointment with our office so that we can correctly diagnose your injury and ensure that you receive the correct treatment.

The Healing Process

Did you know that every bone that breaks heals in the same way? Your body repairs bone tissue in three stages:

  1. Inflammation – Starting when the fracture happens, this stage is necessary for providing blood to the injured area. The blood begins to clot, which provides an initial framework and stability for the body to produce new tissue.
  2. Bone production – In this stage, the clotted blood becomes replaced by cartilage and fibrous tissues, which themselves will be replaced in time by solid bone tissue.
  3. Bone remodeling – Bone tissue develops, becoming dense and compact in this final stage. At this point, circulation will resume its normal levels.

There are various factors that dictate how long the entire process will take for you. In most cases, it takes 6 to 8 weeks for a broken bone to heal to a significant degree. Adult bones heal more slowly than those of children.

Treatment for Bone Fractures

Most of the actual healing comes from your own body, but it is important that the bones are in the right position, and that symptoms are managed. Care for simple breaks often includes immobilizing the affected area to prevent further damage and keep the bone aligned correctly.

To manage symptoms, ice, medication, and rest are conservative methods that work well for relieving pain and swelling.

If yours is a compound or comminuted break, surgical intervention may be necessary. In such instances, parts of bone tissue may have to be placed into their normal position and this can entail the use of screws, plates, or pins to keep them secure.

Prevention

Broken bones are often the result of accidental events, which you may not be able to avoid. That said, a diet that includes Vitamin D and calcium will provide the nourishment needed to make your bones stronger and decrease the risk of a break. Though weight-bearing exercises are commonly associated with muscular strength, they also promote bone strength.

Treatment for Broken Feet and Ankles in Houston, TX

Your first step in recovering from a broken foot or ankle is to contact the professionals at Houston Foot Specialists. We will evaluate your situation, determine the extent of the injury, and then create a treatment plan so your broken bone heals correctly. Contact our Houston, TX office today by calling (713) 467-8886 or schedule your appointment online.