Ankle + Foot

Fractures

Overview

Fractures can vary greatly from a stress fracture to broken bones. Symptoms of a fracture include:

  • Pain with weight bearing
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Deformed or crooked appearance

If your child has a potential fracture, they should be examined by a doctor as quickly as possible. A child's bones heal quickly, and it is important that the bone receives the proper treatment before it begins to heal.

Ankle Fracture (Broken Ankle)

A fractured ankle can range from a simple break in one bone to several fractures, which can force your ankle out of place and may require that you not put weight on it for a few months.

Learn more about ankle fractures.

Toe and Forefoot Fracture

Fractures of the toes and forefoot are quite common. Fractures can result from a direct blow to the foot—such as accidentally kicking something hard or dropping a heavy object on your toes. They can also result from the overuse and repetitive stress that comes with participating in high-impact sports like running and basketball.

Learn more about toe and forefoot fractures.

Talus Fracture

A talus fracture is a break in one of the bones that forms the ankle. This type of fracture often occurs during a high-energy event such as a car collision or a high-velocity fall. Because the talus is important for ankle movement, a fracture often results in significant loss of motion and function. In addition, a talus fracture that does not heal properly can lead to serious complications including chronic pain. For this reason, many talus fractures require surgery.

Learn more about talus fractures.

Pilon Fracture

A pilon fracture is a type of break that occurs at the bottom of the tibia (shinbone) and involves the weight-bearing surface of the ankle joint. With this type of injury, the other bone in the lower leg, the fibula, is frequently broken as well. A pilon fracture typically occurs as the result of a high-energy event such as a car collision or fall from height. In most cases, surgery is needed to restore the damaged bone to its normal position.

Learn more about pilon fractures.

Calcaneus (Heal Bone) Fracture

This type of fracture commonly occurs during a high-energy event such as a car crash or a fall from a ladder. When this occurs, the heel can widen, shorten, and become deformed. Calcaneus fractures can be quite severe. Treatment often involves surgery to reconstruct the normal anatomy of the heel and restore mobility so that patients can return to normal activity. But even with appropriate treatment, some fractures may result in long-term complications such as pain, swelling, loss of motion, and arthritis.

Learn more about clacaneus fractures.

Stress Fracture

A stress fractures is a common sports injury caused by overuse. It occurs when muscles become fatigued and are unable to absorb added shock. Eventually, the fatigued muscle transfers the overload of stress to the bone causing a tiny crack called a stress fracture. More than 50 percent of all stress fractures occur in the lower leg.

Learn more about stress fractures.

Growth Plate Fracture

Because children are still growing, their bones are subject to a unique injury called a growth plate fracture. Growth plates are areas of cartilage located near the ends of bones. They are the last portion of a child's bones to harden and are particularly vulnerable to fracture. Approximately 25% of all childhood fractures are growth plate fractures. Because the growth plate helps determine the future length and shape of the mature bone, this type of fracture requires prompt attention. With proper treatment, most growth plate fractures heal without complications.

Learn more about growth plate fractures.

Diagnosis

X-rays are commonly used to determine fractures. Sometimes, the stress fracture cannot be seen on regular x-rays or will not show up for several weeks after the pain starts. Occasionally, a computed topography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will be necessary.

Treatment Options

Treatment of fractures vary greatly depending on the force that causes the break as well as where the break is located. The pieces of bone may line up correctly (stable fracture) or be out of alignment (displaced fracture). The skin around the fracture may be intact (closed fracture) or the bone may puncture the skin (open fracture).

Stress fractures are treated with rest and postponing the activity that caused the fracture for 6-8 weeks to allow the fracture to heal. If your fracture is more serious, your doctor may immobilize the fracture with a cast or brace. Surgery may be required for certain types of fractures with open wounds, many bone fragments, or a large degree of displacement. Surgery may also be needed for fractures that have not healed properly with nonsurgical treatment. Your doctor will talk with you about the best treatment option for you and your injury.

Physical Therapy

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you regain strength in your ankle and foot and to restore range of motion. Depending upon your procedure, you may need to wear a brace or use crutches for a time.

Eau Claire Area Locations

Chippewa Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine - Altoona

Chippewa Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine - Chippewa Falls

Request an appointment

Outreach Locations

Cumberland Memorial Hospital

Prevea Rice Lake Health Center

Prevea Ladysmith Health Center

Ascension Our Lady of Victory Hospital

Indianhead Medical Center

Black River Memorial Hospital

Krohn Clinic

Diagnostic Radiology Associates