Toe and Forefoot Fractures

Orthopedic Specialist in Torrance

Nearly a quarter of all the bones in the human body are located in the feet, and they are essential to both support and movement. When fractures occur in the metatarsals (forefoot) or in one of the toes (phalanges), the results can be painful, but they are rarely debilitating.

Toe and forefoot fractures can occur in a number of ways, including direct impacts to the foot such as when you accidently kick something or drop a heavy object onto the foot or toes. Fractures can also occur from overuse and repetitive stress associated with high-impact athletic activity and sports that require a great deal of running, jumping, and other similar movements.

Because the bones in the forefoot function together to support movement, a fracture of the metatarsal bones or phalanges can affect how your foot functions and your ability to engage in activity. Common symptoms include pain and swelling, bruising that may extend to other parts of the foot or ankle, and pain when walking or bearing weight.

Treating Toe and Forefoot Fractures

Treating fractures will depend on their location and severity, but all treatments are designed to help you return to physical activity and the sports or hobbies you enjoy. By following a treatment plan personalized to your unique needs, toe and forefoot fractures can often be treated without the need for surgery and future complications can be avoided.

Rest and initially avoiding physical activity is important, but weight bearing can begin as soon as pain permits. Wearing wider shoes or taping broken toes to an adjacent toe can also provide relief. In some toe fractures, the bones may need to be manipulated by a doctor to ensure they heal in the correct position.

With fractures of the metatarsals, a cast or walking boot can immobilize and protect the foot while the bones heal. Physical therapy, stretching, and a gradual return to activity will also help following immobilization. In cases where fractures are severe or unstable, multiple metatarsals have been fractured, or a deformity occurs, surgery may be required. Surgical treatment will involve internal fixation of the bones in the feet using plates, pins or screws. Fractures generally take 6 to 8 weeks to heal.

Request an Appointment with a Torrance Foot & Ankle Specialist

Torrance Memorial Physician Network offers comprehensive care and a team of orthopedic specialists who have the experience needed to address a range of issues affecting the foot and ankle, including nonsurgical and surgical approaches. We proudly serve the South Bay and surrounding areas from three convenient locations. Call to request an appointment.