Fractures of the Foot and Ankle
There are a many bones in the foot which are susceptible to fractures. There are a different types of fractures that can be broadly classified as follows: Stress fractures, acute traumatic fractures and insufficiency fractures.
This is a small crack in a bone, or severe bruising within a bone (usually only detected on MRI). Most stress fractures are caused by overuse and repetitive activity and are common in runners and athletes who participate in running sports, such as football and rugby.
They can occur when people change their activities — such as by trying a new exercise, suddenly increasing the intensity of their workouts, or changing the workout surface (jogging on a treadmill vs. jogging outdoors).
These types of fractures occur most often in the second and third metatarsals in the foot. This is the area of greatest impact on your foot as you push off when you walk or run.
Other areas where stress fractures occur include in the calcaneus (heel); fibula (the outer bone of the lower leg and ankle); talus (a small bone in the ankle joint); and the navicular (a bone on the top of the midfoot).
Modifying activity and resting the area is essential to allow healing to take place.
Insufficiency fractures are caused by a weakness in the bone due to medication or diseases.
Conditions that decrease bone strength and density, such as osteoporosis, and certain long-term medications can make you more likely to experience a fracture-even when you are performing normal everyday activities. For example, fractures are more common in the winter months, when Vitamin D is lower in the body, if you have rheumatoid arthritis and have had to use steroids for a long time.
Studies show that female athletes are more prone to stress fractures than male athletes. This may be due, in part, to decreased bone density from a condition that doctors call the "female athlete triad." When a girl or young woman goes to extremes in dieting or exercise, three interrelated illnesses may develop: eating disorders, menstrual dysfunction, and premature osteoporosis. As a female athlete's bone mass decreases, her chances for getting a stress fracture increase.
These are fractures that occur due to a sprain or fall in patients with normal bones. Most fractures in the foot can heal without surgery, however there are some fractures that need to be operated on.
Nowadays the use of fracture boots and shoes enable patients to walk more freely whilst their fracture heals, sometimes without the need for crutches.