True or false? Test your knowledge about foot injuries.
“My foot or ankle can’t be broken, because I can move it.”
False. This widespread idea has kept many fractures from receiving proper treatment. The truth is that often you can walk with certain kinds of fractures. Some common examples:
- breaks of the thinner of the two leg bones
- small “chip” fractures of either foot or ankle bones
- the frequently neglected fracture of a toe.
“If you break a toe, immediate care isn’t necessary.”
False. A toe fracture needs prompt attention. If X-rays reveal it to be a simple, displaced fracture, care by your podiatrist usually can produce rapid relief. However, X-rays might identify a displaced or angulated break. In such cases, prompt realignment of the fracture by your podiatrist will help prevent improper or incomplete healing.
Many patients develop post-fracture deformity of a toe, which in turn results in formation of a painfully deformed toe with a most painful corn. A good general rule is: seek prompt treatment for injury to foot bones.
“If you have a foot or ankle injury, soak it in hot water immediately.”
False. Don’t use heat or hot water if you suspect a fracture, sprain, or dislocation. Heat promotes blood flow, causing greater swelling. More swelling means greater pressure on the nerves, which causes more pain.
An ice bag wrapped in a towel has a contracting effect on blood vessels, produces a numbing effect, and prevents swelling and pain. After seeing a podiatrist, warm compresses and soaks may be used.
“Applying an elastic bandage to a severely sprained ankle is adequate treatment.”
False. Ankle sprains often mean torn or severely overstretched ligaments, and they should receive immediate care. Imaging studies (X-ray, bone scan, CT, MRI or the like), immobilization by casting or splinting, and physiotherapy to insure a normal recovery all may be indicated. Surgery may even be necessary.
Source: B.C. Association of Podiatrists