Foot Fracture

There are 26 bones that make up the human foot–and a break (or fracture) can occur in any one of them. There are two types of fractures: acute (which occurs suddenly, due to injury or trauma) and stress (which occurs as a result of overuse). The fracture can cause pain, swelling, redness, bruising, and it may be difficult to put weight on the injured foot. The metatarsals—the bones that connect the toes to the back of the foot—are the most commonly broken. The second and fifth metatarsal are most often injured as a result of playing sports. A metatarsal fracture can be displaced or nondisplaced. A displaced metatarsal fracture means that the broken bones have moved out of their normal position (becoming displaced). A nondisplaced metatarsal fracture means that the broken bones have remained in place. Treatment will vary depending on the location of the break, its severity, and whether it is displaced or nondisplaced. Some fractures may only need help to heal properly—in which case a supportive dressing and rigid boot to keep the bones of the feet in place while the body heals may be appropriate. In other fractures, a plaster cast or surgery to realign the bones may be necessary.