Foot and Ankle Fractures
Strong, flexible structures, feet and ankles support the weight of the body. The foot is made up of three primary sections. The forefoot contains the five phalanges, or toe bones, and five long metatarsal bones. The mid foot is a pyramid-like area of ones that create the arches of the foot. These bones include the cuneiform bones, the cuboid bone and the navicular bone. Lastly, the hind foot is composed of the talus bone, which supports the large leg bones, the tibia and the fibula, which collectively form the ankle, and the calceanus bone, or heel bone, which is the largest bone in the foot. When any part of the foot dynamic becomes injured, serious complications can result. There are multiple causes of ankle and foot fractures, including twisting or rolling of the ankle, tripping, and/or falling. Sufferers of foot and/or ankle fractures report symptoms of pain, swelling, deformity and being tender to the touch. The following areas of the foot and ankle can be fractured and are treated by Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine:
Calcaneus: The calcaneus, or heel bone, is the most commonly fractured tarsal bone in the mid foot region. It is typically fractured in high-energy collisions, and is often injured in conjunction with other areas of the body, specifically the back.
Lateral malleolus: The lateral malleolus is the bony structure on the outer side of the ankle. This bony lump is a protrusion from the outer side of the fibula bone where it meets with the tibia and talus at the ankle joint. The lateral malleolus is a commonly fractured area, occurring as the result of a sprained ankle or other fractures of the foot.
Medial malleolus: The medial malleolus is the bony structure on the inner side of the ankle. This structure is a part of the tibia bone where it meets the fibula and talus at the ankle joint. Fractures occurring in the medial malleolus typically result from falling, rolling the ankle or landing improperly after jumping.
Metatarsal: Metatarsals are the long bones in the forefoot preceding the phalanges. Fractures occurring in the metatarsals cause rapid swelling, pain, bruising and instability. If a fracture of the metatarsals is not treated immediately, long-term foot problems may result.
Phalanges: The most common bones fractured in the foot are the phalanges. The first and fifth toes typically sustain the most injury. Fractures in the phalanges typically result from falling, tripping or a severely stubbing the toe.
Talus: The talus is a small bone that is located between the tibia, fibula, and heel bone or calcaneus. These important bones converge to form the ankle joint, which is an important connector between the foot and the leg and aids with essential mobility. Fractures occurring in the talus most commonly result from car accidents, snowboarding or skateboarding accidents, or extreme stress on the ankle.
Depending on numerous factors, including the severity of the fracture, age of the patient, dominance of the ankle or foot that is afflicted, and whether or not the fracture was influenced by internal factors such as osteoarthritis, Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine will recommend different treatment options.
If the fracture is minimally displaced or non-displaced treatment options include bracing or the use of a cast often supplemented by physical therapy. The ultimate goal of bracing and/or a cast is to allow the fracture to heal naturally and cause no further damage.
Physical therapy is used to ensure that the muscles in the affected area do not experience atrophy and full range of motion is restored.
Displaced fractures or multi-fragmented fractures impact range of mobility and require further intervention. Surgery is a treatment option often utilizing structural aids such as pins, wires, screws, plates, sutures or a combination of these methods. If the affected bone is not able to regain its original shape, a bone graft or artificial replacement may be necessary.