“My foot or ankle can’t be broken, because I can move it.”

False. This widespread idea has kept many fractures from receiving proper treatment. The truth is that often you can walk with certain kinds of fractures. Some common examples:

  • breaks of the thinner of the two leg bones
  • small “chip” fractures of either foot or ankle bones
  • the frequently neglected fracture of a toe.

“If you break a toe, immediate care isn’t necessary.”

False. A toe fracture needs prompt attention. If X-rays reveal it to be a simple, displaced fracture, our podiatrists at Healthy Steps can treat it and ensure rapid relief. However, X-rays might identify a displaced or angulated break. In such cases, prompt realignment of the fracture by one of our podiatrists will help prevent improper or incomplete healing.

Many patients develop post-fracture deformity of a toe, especially if the fracture has gone untreated. Toe deformities can be painful and can lead to the development of corns and calluses. Always seek prompt treatment for any injury to foot bones.

“If you have an ankle or foot injury, soak it in hot water immediately.”

False. Don’t use heat or hot water if you suspect a fracture, sprain, or dislocation. Heat promotes blood flow, causing greater swelling. More swelling means greater pressure on the nerves, which causes more pain.

An ice bag wrapped in a towel has a contracting effect on blood vessels which, in turn, has a numbing effect, prevents swelling and helps with the pain.

“Applying an elastic bandage to a severely sprained ankle is adequate treatment.”

False. Ankle sprains often mean torn or severely overstretched ligaments, and they should receive immediate care. Imaging studies (X-ray, bone scan, CT, MRI or the like), immobilization and physiotherapy may all be needed. Depending on the severity – surgery may even be necessary.