how are foot fractures treatedOne of patients came in to see me after she dropped her laptop on her big toe. Ouch!

Injuries to our feet are so painful because, like our hands, they have the highest concentration of sensory nerves in the human body. Luckily, she did not damage her toenail or the nail bed, however, she did sustain a fracture to the bone right under her nail. 

I used x-rays to make the diagnosis, in addition to the clinical appearance of discoloration, swelling and pain. And while her fracture was not seen to be displaced nor affecting the joint, she still required immobilization for 4-6 weeks -- the amount of time needed for adult bone to heal.   

Given my patient’s busy lifestyle, she agreed to wear a flat, stiff, surgical sandal, use crutches and avoid sports and exercise for a few weeks.  Yet within 24 hours my patient returned, requesting treatment option number two: a full cast to the knee.  Why was this necessary? Unless you stop moving your body weight over the foot, you virtually can’t avoid stress to the tip of the toe.

While it may seem like overkill, the cast was the only thing that diminished my patient’s pain. Fortunately, we have removable walking cast boots, so she could bathe and sleep without it.  And aside from total non-weightbearing, this provided the best option for her. Crutches, hopping or walking on her hands would be a lot more challenging!  

What’s the moral of the story? Number one, don’t drop your laptop. Number two, if you do, keep your feet out of the way. You may have a laptop to repair, but the injury to the foot will impact your life a lot more!

Learn How Foot Fractures Are Treated

You may not be accident prone but you may still have foot problems.

Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.
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