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Foot Fracture

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by Calvagna M

(Broken Foot; Fracture, Foot)


Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of a foot fracture include:
  • Advancing age
  • Osteoporosis
  • 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


Proper treatment can prevent long-term complications or problems with your foot. Treatment will depend on how serious the fracture is, but may include:

Intial Care

Extra support may be needed to protect, support, and keep your foot in line while it heals. Supportive steps may include a splint, walking boot, stiff-soled shoe. or cast. A crutches may be needed to help you move around while keeping weight off your foot.
Some fractures cause pieces of bone to separate. Your doctor will need to put these pieces back into their proper place. This may be done:
  • Without surgery—you will have anesthesia to decrease pain while the doctor moves the pieces back into place
  • With surgery—pins, screws, or plates may be needed to reconnect the pieces and hold them in place
Children’s bones are still growing at an area of the bone called the growth plate. If the fracture affected the growth plate, your child may need to see a specialist. Injuries to the growth plate will need to be monitored to make sure the bone can continue to grow as expected.


Prescription or over-the-counter medications may be given to help reduce inflammation and pain.
Medications may include acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Check with your doctor before taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.

Rest and Recovery

Healing time varies by age and your overall health. Children and people in better overall health heal faster. In general, metatarsal bones and the phalanges may heal in 3-6 weeks, but the tarsal bones may take 6-10 weeks to heal..
You will need to adjust your activities while your foot heals, but complete rest is rarely required. Ice and elevating the foot at rest may also be recommended to help with discomfort and swelling.
As you recover, you may be referred to physical therapy or rehabilitation to start range-of-motion and strengthening exercises. Do not return to activities or sports until your doctor gives you permission to do so.
If you have a fractured foot, follow your doctor's instructions.


To help reduce your chance of foot fractures, take these steps:
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


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine



Canadian Orthopaedic Association

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation



Foot fractures and dislocations. Patient UK website. Available at: . Updated April 19, 2012. Accessed September 16, 2013.

March fracture. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated November 3, 2012. Accessed September 16, 2013.

Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: . Updated July 2009. Accessed September 16, 2013.

Toe and forefoot fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: . Updated September 2012. Accessed September 16, 2013.


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