Foot or toe fracture is a debilitating injury that keeps you from normal daily routines and makes it challenging to focus on anything else. The sports medicine specialists and board certified podiatrist and foot and ankle specialists at Genesis Orthopaedic and Spine in Westfield and West Orange, New Jersey, and serving serving all of Union county, Morris county, Middlesex county, and Somerset county including the surrounding towns of Cranford, Garwood, Clark, Scotch Plains, Mountainside, Springfield, Summit, Chatham, Millburn, Short Hills, Maplewood, Watchung, Berkeley Heights, Livingston, Union, Edison, Woodbridge, and Elizabeth have the skills and experience needed to diagnose and treat a foot or toe fracture, getting you back in the swing of life. Learn more at a one-on-one consultation. You can schedule a visit online or by phone, so don’t delay.
Foot, Toe, and Metatarsal Fractures (Broken Foot or Toes)
The structure of the foot is complex, consisting of bones, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Of the 26 bones in the foot, 19 are toe bones (phalanges) and metatarsal bones (the long bones in the midfoot). Fractures of the toe and metatarsal bones are common and require evaluation by a specialist. A foot and ankle surgeon should be seen for proper diagnosis and treatment, even if initial treatment has been received in an emergency room.
What Is a Fracture?
A fracture is a break in the bone. Fractures can be divided into two categories: traumatic fractures and stress fractures.
Traumatic fractures (also called acute fractures) are caused by a direct blow or impact, such as seriously stubbing your toe. Traumatic fractures can be displaced or non-displaced. If the fracture is displaced, the bone is broken in such a way that it has changed in position (dislocated).
Signs and symptoms of a traumatic fracture include:
- You may hear a sound at the time of the break.
- “Pinpoint pain” (pain at the place of impact) at the time the fracture occurs and perhaps for a few hours later, but often the pain goes away after several hours.
- Crooked or abnormal appearance of the toe.
- Bruising and swelling the next day.
- It is not true that “if you can walk on it, it’s not broken.” Evaluation by a foot and ankle surgeon is always recommended.
Stress fractures are tiny, hairline breaks that are usually caused by repetitive stress. Stress fractures often afflict athletes who, for example, too rapidly increase their running mileage. They can also be caused by an abnormal foot structure, deformities, or osteoporosis. Improper footwear may also lead to stress fractures. Stress fractures should not be ignored. They require proper medical attention to heal correctly.
Symptoms of stress fractures include:
- Pain with or after normal activity
- Pain that goes away when resting and then returns when standing or during activity
- “Pinpoint pain” (pain at the site of the fracture) when touched
- Swelling, but no bruising
Consequences of Improper Treatment
Some people say that “the doctor can’t do anything for a broken bone in the foot.” This is usually not true. In fact, if a fractured toe or metatarsal bone is not treated correctly, serious complications may develop. For example:
- A deformity in the bony architecture which may limit the ability to move the foot or cause difficulty in fitting shoes
- Arthritis, which may be caused by a fracture in a joint (the juncture where two bones meet), or may be a result of angular deformities that develop when a displaced fracture is severe or hasn’t been properly corrected
- Chronic pain and deformity
- Non-union, or failure to heal, can lead to subsequent surgery or chronic pain.
Treatment of Foot Fracture and Toe Fracture
The first way to treat a fracture is to get a proper diagnosis. Genesis Orthopaedic and Spine has state-of-the-art technology such as hi-def and precise X-rays that can diagnose and treat conditions quickly. Their ultrasound exams can also diagnose muscle or tendon injuries. Dr. Maningat can also order additional tests if needed such as MRI and also can treat most conditions in the office. Most conditions can be treated with casting, bracing, PRP injection, Lipogems, or BMAC injection, cortisone injection, Tenjet tenotomy, orthotics, and physical therapy. Some will require surgical treatment such as arthroscopy or reconstruction and as a board-certified podiatric surgeon, you are in good hands.