Whether you're standing, running, jumping, or walking, the bones in your feet are placed under a lot of stress. Trauma and overuse can cause fractures, and the metatarsals, the bones that connect your toes to your ankles, are particularly at risk. While a broken toe bone can be painful, these injuries are common and usually respond well to professional podiatric care. The skilled podiatrists at Massapequa Podiatry Associates P.C. can help you heal and get back on your feet.
Inside Your Feet
Each foot in the human body is comprised of 26 bones, as well as numerous muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The five bones that run from your toes, through the midfoot, and connect the toes to the ankles are the metatarsals. These bones are long, slender, and relatively delicate, putting them at risk for injury. The metatarsals are numbered one through five—one is your big toe, and five is your little, or pinkie, toe. Although any metatarsal bone can fracture or break, the little toe is especially at risk, due to its smaller size and position on the outside of your foot.
Not all fractures are the same. In general, fractures fall into one of two types: traumatic fractures and stress fractures. Traumatic fractures are those that occur in response to a sudden force such as dropping something heavy on your foot, stubbing your toe, or something striking the front of your foot. Stress fractures are small, hairline fractures that develop over time, often due to overuse. These types of metatarsal fractures are common among distance runners and other serious athletes.
The causes of traumatic and stress metatarsal fractures are different, and so are the symptoms for both types. A traumatic metatarsal fracture is usually accompanied by a sudden and sharp pain in the affected toe, as well as redness, bruising, and swelling that often shows up the next day. In some cases, you might even hear a sound as the bone breaks.
With traumatic fractures, there isn't a sudden painful event. Instead, you might feel a gradual pain that occurs with activity and subsides with rest. Sometimes, the affected toe may be swollen and painful to the touch.
If you’re experiencing pain in your feet and/or toes, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as possible. The podiatrists at Massapequa Podiatry Associates P.C. will assess your metatarsal fracture and develop a custom treatment plan to help you recover. Until your visit and until you've fully recovered, we recommend reducing activity as much as possible to allow your foot to rest. Using a cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes at a time can help control swelling.
Your treatment will vary, depending on the location and severity of the break. However, treatment may include:
- Immobilization. Holding the broken bone in the proper position is essential. We can accomplish this through the use of a splint, taping, or a cast or special shoe.
- Rehabilitation exercises. Once the bone has healed, we'll recommend exercises to help your toe regain its flexibility, strength, and range of motion.
- Surgery. Though we generally use surgery as a last resort for when more conservative treatments fail to provide the desired results, in some cases, it’s the best option. We may recommend surgery if you have a particularly complex metatarsal fracture such as when the bone is significantly misaligned.
Helping You Get Back on Your Feet
At Massapequa Podiatry Associates P.C., our highly skilled podiatrists, Dr. Corey Fox and Dr. Justin LoBello, are committed to providing the care you need to heal and get back on your feet as quickly and as painlessly as possible. We explain and discuss every aspect of your diagnosis and treatment, so you always feel confident in your care. Complete our contact form, or call us to schedule an appointment.