There are 26 bones in each foot and 208 bones in your entire body. So the 52 bones that you have in your feet make up a quarter (25%) of all the bones in your body. The average person in their lifetime walks approximately 80,000 miles. It is small wonder that fractures of feet are so common.
Digital (toe) fractures are commonly seen after trauma, often after banging your foot into a piece of furniture at home. The toe becomes swollen, bruised and painful. Contrary to what you may believe, it is not possible to diagnosis a toe fracture without an x-ray, and toe fractures, like finger fractures, should be treated in order to assure that no future complications occur. Treatment often involves the use of a splint to immobilize the toe during the healing process.
Metatarsal fractures often involve pain and swelling without a history of trauma at the top or bottom of the foot just behind the toes. These fractures, commonly known as stress fractures, can occur after an increase or change in activity level, or may just occur after walking. They are small breaks in the metatarsal bone, and usually do not require the use of a cast to treat. A walking boot is often used to immobilize the fracture during the healing process. More severe metatarsal fractures may require cast immobilization, the use of crutches, or surgery.
Fractures of the heel usually occur after a fall or jump from a height, and cause severe pain and swelling in the area of the heel. These fractures require prompt diagnosis and treatment to assure that there is no permanent loss of function to the foot.
Drs. Notari and Subik are on staff at Hackensack University Medical Center and St. Mary’s Hospital, and at both hospitals are routinely called into the Emergency Room to diagnose and treat fractures.