What is foot fracture?

Foot Fracture
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Broken foot in children: Overview

A broken foot, or foot fracture, is a break in one or more of the bones in the foot. It may happen because of a sports injury, a fall, or other accident. A compound, or open, fracture occurs when a bone breaks through the skin. A break that does not poke through the skin is a closed fracture.

Your child's treatment depends on the location and the type of fracture. Your child may need a splint, a cast, or an orthopedic shoe. Certain kinds of injuries may need surgery at some time.

Whatever your child's treatment, you can ease symptoms and help the foot heal with care at home. Your child may need 6 to 8 weeks or more to fully heal.

How can you care for your child who has a broken foot?

  • Be safe with medicines. Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask the doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Don't let your child put any weight on the injured foot. If you were given crutches, help your child use them as directed.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on your child's foot for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when your child is awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's skin.
  • Prop up the sore foot on a pillow anytime your child sits or lies down during the next 3 days. Try to keep it above the level of your child's heart. This will help reduce swelling.
  • If your child has a cast, follow the cast care instructions the doctor gives you.
  • If your child has a splint, leave the splint on until your child's follow-up appointment. Do not take it off unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Take care of the splint.
    • If your child has a removable splint, ask the doctor if it is okay to remove it to bathe. The doctor may want your child to keep it on as much as possible.
    • Keep a plaster splint covered by taping a sheet of plastic around it when your child bathes. Water under the plaster can cause the skin to itch and hurt.
    • Never cut your child's splint.

Broken foot: When to call

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have chest pain, are short of breath, or you cough up blood.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse pain.
  • Your foot is cool or pale or changes color.
  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness in your toes.
  • Your cast or splint feels too tight.
  • You have signs of a blood clot in your leg (called a deep vein thrombosis), such as:
    • Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness or swelling in your leg.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You have a problem with your splint or cast.
  • You do not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.

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