Fractured Foot

Dr. Nadheer K M (AIIMS)MBBS

December 01, 2018

March 06, 2020

Fractured Foot
Fractured Foot

What is a fractured foot?

Fracture of the foot is one of the most commonly occurring fractures. The foot consists of 26 bones, which can be fractured due to direct blow or accidents. The bones of the foot may get fractured due to a simple misstep or fall which is usually not taken seriously. Most common foot fractures are seen in the bones of the toes (phalanges), followed by metatarsal fractures (five bones located between the phalanges of the toes and the hind- and mid-foot bones). The most frequent metatarsal fracture occurs in the fifth metatarsal bone, which connects to the little toe.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Most common symptoms of a fractured foot include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling at the fracture site
  • Difficulty in movement of the fractured foot

Other symptoms include:

  • Bruising or discolouration of the foot that extends to areas around the fracture site
  • Pain on walking or when lifting heavy objects
  • Pain that is aggravated by physical activities and alleviates on resting
  • Tenderness
  • Deformity

What are the main causes?

Common causes of a foot fracture include:

Direct trauma or injury: Crushing injuries sustained in vehicle accidents, tripping or falling, injury sustained on jumping from a height and landing on your feet, falling of a heavy object on your foot can lead to a foot fracture.

Other causes include:

  • Stress fracture due to repeated trauma or overuse
  • Fracture due to a misstep
  • Trauma sustained on hitting a toe on a piece of furniture/heavy object while walking
  • Twisting the ankle may also cause a foot fracture

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Diagnosis of a fractured foot involves physical examination of the bones and joints of the foot. Assessment of fracture is done by palpating the foot and a neurovascular examination (examination of the nerves and blood vessels of the foot).

Investigations include:

  • X-ray
  • Ultrasonography

Prognosis and treatment depend on the site of the fracture and its severity. Therefore, healing time may vary from four weeks to as long as 10 to 12 weeks.

Splints and cast along with restricted physical activity will help to heal the fractured bone in most cases.

A fractured toe may be buddy-taped to another toe in order to relieve the pressure and pain.

If the fractured segment appears deformed and out of place, your doctor will reduce and fix the misaligned bone under anaesthesia. If the fracture is an open fracture where the bone pierces the skin, surgery may be required to fix.

A foot fracture that occurs in the fifth metatarsal bone between the base and the shaft of the bone is called a Jones fracture. It is a serious fracture for which the healing can be very slow and may even require surgical intervention.


  • Keep the affected foot elevated.
  • Use cold compresses to alleviate pain.
  • Reduce weightbearing.


  1. Orthoinfo [internet]. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Rosemont, Illinois. Toe and Forefoot Fractures.
  2. MedlinePlus Medical: US National Library of Medicine; Metatarsal fracture (acute): Aftercare
  3. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Ankle Fractures. Los Angeles, California. [internet].
  4. Barts Health. Patient information: Ankle or foot fracture. National health service. [internet].
  5. American Academy of Family Physicians [Internet]. Kansas, United States; Diagnosis and Management of Common Foot Fractures