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Foot and Ankle Fractures
Home Physical Therapy Injuries and Conditions Foot and Ankle Injuries Foot and Ankle Fractures

Foot and Ankle Fractures

by Us3eNumb3rZERO

The ankle is a very important area of the body for how we move, and has complex anatomy – it contains three different joints. We may not realize it at times, but the ways the joints of the feet and ankles articulate are the reasons we can move in so many different ways – walking, jumping, swimming, and more. An accident while running or playing sports, a fall, or other injury can fracture one or more of the bones in the foot or ankle and take away much of that mobility until the bones fully heal. And for athletes, it will take special effort to return to the playing field and perform your best.

One treatment option that has been shown to help people recover from foot and ankle fractures faster, better, and more comfortably is physical therapy. At JAG PT, our therapy staff brings their foot and ankle treatment expertise to tri-state area residents at all of our many convenient locations. Find your nearest JAG PT clinic or book your initial appointment today, or read on to learn more about how our specialized physical therapy helps people recover from foot and ankle fractures.

Symptoms of Ankle and Foot Fractures

Fractured bones in all areas of the body have similar symptoms, generally localized to that area. There tends to be immediate and severe pain in that part of the body, felt either sharply or as throbbing. Inflammation, redness, swelling, and bruising can quickly arise in the minutes and hours after getting hurt, and tenderness and visible deformity can linger for a long time. Fracturing the foot or ankle will, of course, make it difficult if not impossible to walk.

Types of Fractures

Depending on the situation, doctors will use multiple different methods of classifying fractures. One common scheme is to determine the “depth” of the fracture, which is often a good indicator of severity.

An extra-articular fracture is one that affects only a single bone because its fracture line doesn’t extend into a joint – while this causes pain and other symptoms and can make the use of the foot or leg harder, there is no need to worry about the complex connections within the joint. By contrast, an intra-articular fracture does extend into the joint and may be harder to repair.

The most severe fractures tend to be comminuted fractures, which involve a single bone broken in multiple places, and open fractures, in which the broken section of bone punctures the skin and becomes exposed. Open fractures in particular require immediate emergency medical care.

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Risk Factors for Fracturing a Foot or Ankle

Athletes who play high-impact sports are at risk for fracturing a foot or ankle if they use improper techniques or equipment. At JAG PT, our athletic training program, including advanced gait analysis, can help sportspeople recognize the warning signs, correct their form, and avoid injuries such as these.

Suddenly increasing your activity level may also put you in danger of a fracture – the best way to get more physically active is gradually, with lower-impact exercise first, and always using proper preparation and stretching techniques. You could also be at greater risk if your home is poorly lit or cluttered (which might cause you to trip and fall), if you have bone conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis, or if you smoke.

Foot and Ankle Fracture Treatment Options

Once set into place with a cast, boot, or similar device, a fractured foot or ankle that doesn’t require surgery can be treated conservatively, with methods that relieve symptoms and attempt to prevent complications. Rest, icing, and elevation are important ways to deal with the pain, and once healing has begun, we at JAG PT can help with orthopedic rehabilitation, occupational therapy, and much more.

Foot and Ankle Fracture Surgery

In a small percentage of foot and ankle fractures, generally the most severe or most difficult to heal injuries, surgery might be recommended. The types of operation used to repair a severely fractured foot or ankle bone include fixation surgery, which uses screws, plates, or other devices made of an inert metal to reconnect the bone; nonunion surgery, in which an aid such as a bone graft can be used to stimulate an unhealed fracture to knit together; and foot and ankle reduction, in which the affected bones are physically moved back into place.

JAG Physical Therapy offers a complete pre- and post-operative physical therapy specialization to help people scheduled for surgery have the most successful operation possible and recovery more quickly and more fully after it is complete.

Foot and Ankle Fracture Prevention

If you feel you might be at risk for a foot or ankle fracture due to the factors mentioned above, you can make certain changes to your lifestyle in order to lower this risk.

For runners and other athletes, wearing proper footwear and replacing your athletic shoes regularly once they have wear and tear is essential to protecting your ankle joints. When beginning exercise, always start slowly, and you can build bone and muscle strength with cross-training techniques. Stretching your ankles regularly strengthens the muscles around these joints, which serves to support the bones. Finally, you can prevent tripping by decluttering your home and through JAG PT’s slip and fall prevention program.

See a Physical Therapist to Treat a Foot or Ankle Fracture

JAG Physical Therapy is proud to bring skilled foot and ankle care to local residents across New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Don’t delay your foot or ankle fracture recovery – contact us today or book your first appointment.