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What To Expect From A Broken Foot Or Ankle | Flagler Personal Injury Lawyer

What To Expect From A Broken Foot Or Ankle

If you’ve suffered a broken ankle or broken foot as a result of a car accident or other injury, the seriousness can range from tiny cracks in your bones to shattering breaks that pierce your skin.

SYMPTOMS

If you have a broken ankle or broken foot, you may experience these signs and symptoms:

  • Immediate, throbbing pain
  • Pain that increases with activity and decreases with rest
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Deformity
  • Inability to walk or bear weight
  • Cuts, puncture wounds or protrusion of bone fragments

Some people feel or hear a snap at the time of injury and assume that means something has broken. However, a snapping sound or feeling is not always a sign of a fracture.

DIAGNOSIS

You may initially seek treatment for a broken ankle or broken foot in an emergency room or urgent-care clinic. During the physical exam, your doctor will check for points of tenderness in your foot and ankle. The precise location of your pain can help determine its cause. He or she will also check to see if the nerves and blood vessels for your foot and ankle have been damaged.

Broken bones — especially stress fractures — are sometimes difficult to diagnose, so your doctor may suggest additional types of imaging scans.

X-rays

Most ankle and foot fractures can be visualized on X-rays. The technician may need to take X-rays from several different angles so that the bone images won’t overlap too much. Stress fractures often don’t show up on X-rays until the break actually starts healing.

Bone scan

For a bone scan, a technician will inject a small amount of radioactive material into an intravenous line. The radioactive material is attracted to your bones, especially the parts of your bones that have been damaged. Damaged areas show up as bright spots on an image taken by a scanner.

Computerized tomography

CT scans are useful because they can reveal more detail about the bone and the soft tissues that surround it, which may help your doctor determine the best treatment. CT scans take X-rays from many different angles and combine them to make cross-sectional images of internal structures of your body.

TREATMENT

Treatments for a broken ankle or broken foot will vary, depending upon which bone has been broken and the severity of the injury.

Medications

Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen. If you’re experiencing a lot of pain, you may need a prescription narcotic, such as oxycodone. If the pieces of broken bone aren’t lined up properly to allow healing with immobilization, you may be referred to a doctor specializing in orthopedic surgery.

If you are referred to specialist, you may want to write a list that includes:

  • Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
  • Information about medical problems you’ve had
  • Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
  • All the medications and dietary supplements you take
  • Questions you want to ask the doctor

THERAPY AND HEALING

After your bone has healed, you’ll probably need to loosen up stiff muscles and ligaments in your ankles and feet. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to improve your flexibility and strength The following procedures may also be needed.

  • Reduction. If you have a displaced fracture, your doctor may need to manipulate the pieces back into their proper positions — a process called reduction. Depending on the amount of pain and swelling you have, you may need a muscle relaxant, a sedative or even a general anesthetic before this procedure.
  • Immobilization. To heal, a broken bone must be immobilized so its ends can knit back together. In most cases, this requires a cast. Minor foot fractures may only need a removable brace or shoe with a stiff sole. A fractured toe is usually taped to a neighboring toe, with a piece of gauze between them.
  • Surgery. In some cases, a surgeon may need to use pins, plates or screws to maintain proper position of your bones during healing. These materials may be removed after the fracture has healed if they are prominent and painful.

For more on medical safety or car accident injuries, see the library of articles by Daytona Beach personal injury attorney.



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