Your foot contains 26 bones. And a fracture in any one of them could compromise your mobility. But if you want to know, “Will I be able to walk with a broken foot?” Well, the answer depends on two different factors: the location and severity of your broken foot bone. Here’s what you need to know! 

What is a foot fracture? 

If you sustain a foot fracture, that means you’ve developed a crack or break in one of your 26 foot bones. This injury can range in severity from mild to severe. You could have a stress fracture, which means you’ve developed a tiny crack in a bone, usually due to repetitive force on the area that was sustained over time. Alternatively, your bone could fracture completely. If that happens, the bone fragments could remain in alignment (called a non-displaced fracture.) But in some cases, the fragments of bone could move out of alignment with each other (called a displaced fracture), and this type of injury typically requires more complex treatments—including surgery—in order to allow for proper healing. Similarly, with a severe fracture, pieces of bone may actually be visible through your skin’s surface (called an open fracture.) Again, a severe fracture such as this will require more invasive treatment. 

Symptoms of a Broken Foot Bone A foot with a broken toe

The symptoms you experience after breaking a bone in your foot will, again, depend on the location and severity of the fracture. But common symptoms include: 

•    Throbbing pain immediately after an injury (it may be localized, but it could also radiate up your foot and leg)
•    The pain improves with rest but worsens with activity 
•    The fracture site may be red, swollen, bruised and/or tender
•    Bearing weight or walking on the affected foot could be difficult
•    Your foot shape may change due to the injury

Will I Be Able to Walk with a Broken Foot or Toe? 

Often, breaking a bone in your foot makes it very difficult to walk. However, doing so is not impossible. Especially if you break one of your five metatarsal bones, or if you break a bone in your toe. As such, you should not rule out a foot fracture following an injury simply because you’re still able to walk on the affected foot. 

Furthermore, even if you’re able to walk with a broken foot, doing so could worsen your injury and extend your healing time. In some cases, if you walk around for too long on your broken foot, proper healing may not be possible without surgery. As such, you should call our podiatrists in Massapequa as soon as possible after sustaining a foot injury. When you come into the office, we can provide a thorough exam and a foot x-ray, allowing us to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment plan. 

Walking with a Broken Foot: Toe and Metatarsal Fractures

As we suggested above, if you break a toe or metatarsal bone, you may still be able to walk on the affected foot. However, remaining active with these kind of foot fractures can lead to serious complications, including foot deformities and limits on your mobility in the future. You are also more likely to develop arthritis in the bone if you fail to seek proper care for your injury. 

Now, many people think that there’s nothing you can do for a broken toe, and that you just have to wait out the recovery period living with the pain. Luckily, that’s not the case—just like any other bone in your foot, treating a broken toe is the only way to ensure proper healing and prevent complications following your injury. So, with that in mind, here’s how we treat some of the most common foot and toe fractures seen in our Nassau County podiatry practice. 

Treatment for a Broken Foot Bone: Location Matters

If you break a bone in your toe, we will examine the area and determine the extent of your injury. Depending on severity, we may treat the fracture by splinting your toe, keeping it in the optimal position for healing. In some cases, we may buddy tape the toe to its neighbor. And, we may suggest wearing shoes with stiff or rigid soles; some patients may benefit from wearing a surgical shoe, and, in severe cases, surgery may be necessary. 
Now, if you sustain a metatarsal fracture, treatment may be more complex, especially since some of these bones receive limited blood flow, making the healing process more complicated. For non-athletes, a combination of resting and immobilizing your foot with a cast or boot will usually result in complete healing. But for active individuals—especially those who sustain a fracture in their fifth metatarsal bone (also known as a Jones fracture), surgery is often necessary. 

As for treating fractures in your other foot bones? Treatment options will range from immobilization to surgery. But regardless of the treatment plan we recommend for your foot fracture, one truth is constant: the sooner you come into the office, the sooner we can diagnose your injury and begin your recovery period. 

How Long Does it Take to Heal a Broken Foot? 

The recovery period for a broken foot or toe bone varies based on the location of your fracture; the severity of the injury; and whether or not your injury required surgical repair. However, most fractures heal within six to eight weeks, though your foot may not feel completely ‘normal’ for as long as six months after an injury, even if you don’t require surgical treatment. 

Will I Be Able to Walk with a Broken Foot? 

Returning to our original question, you have probably guessed by now that walking on a broken foot may indeed be possible. But doing so will complicate your treatment and recovery process, regardless of which bone you’ve broken. So, what should you do if you sustain a foot injury? Always assume that you may have sustained a fracture. Then, take the weight off your foot right away. And, as soon as you’re resting, call our office or click here to request an immediate injury consultation. 


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