A broken bone is usually accompanied by a tremendous pain or even with the
sound of a snap. There are 26 bones in each foot and each ankle joint has 3
The tibia or
shinbone is the larger and stronger of the two bones in the leg below the
The fibula or calf bone is a bone on the side of the tibia, with which it is
connected above and below. It is the smaller of the two bones, and, in
proportion to its length, the most slender of all the long bones.
The femur is the
longest and largest bone. It is one of the two strongest bones in the body,
the other being the temporal bone of the skull. It forms part of the hip and
part of the knee.
Recognize a broken bone by the following symptoms.
You can't move the ankle.
The leg becomes swollen and may turn blue with bruising.
It is painful when touched.
It may look deformed.
There may be bone protruding through the skin.
Keep lying down, keeping the injured leg up in relation to the heart or
with the foot propped up on pillows.
Remove any socks or shoes carefully.
Control any bleeding. Use sterile dressings if possible.
Splint the injured leg. if it is not possible to get an ambulance. Before
doing this, you must check for motion, circulation and sensation.
Immobilize the leg. Make a splint with a stick or board and pad with a belt
Wrap a rolled-up towel or pillow around the leg and tape or tie it on with a
Tie it reasonably tightly, but not so tight that circulation is restricted.
Ice the break to reduce swelling. Put a towel or a sheet between the skin
and the ice. Leave the ice on for 15 minutes and then remove it for 15
The doctor will provide you with follow-up treatment. Often the hospital
will have fitted a cast and provide crutches to keep the weight off the leg.
When using crutches, it is important to put your weight on your arms and
hands. Do not put all your weight on your armpits, which could hurt the
nerves that are in your underarms.
In severe fractures, you may need surgery to implant screws or rods to keep
the leg in position while it heals. Your doctor may need to do a
manipulation (known as a reduction) if the fracture is displaced.
Continue with the ice packs if possible, to relieve the pain and swelling
and take any medication as prescribed. The doctor will probably advise that
you stay off the injured leg and keep the leg elevated to prevent swelling.
Ask the doctor to suggest pain medication if the over-the-counter Tylenol or
ibuprofen you are taking doesn’t control the pain. Once you have the
prescription, take the lowest dose possible to control the discomfort while
avoiding over- medicating yourself.
Check up with your doctor when advised to do so. It may take several weeks
before the leg heals.
Go for physical therapy treatment, as advised by your doctor. You can learn
exercises to improve the strength and flexibility in your injured leg.
How to treat an injured toe
Treat at home unless you think it seems to be deformed or pointing the wrong
way. Broken toes usually heal well.
Splint a broken toe together with a good toe next to the injured one by
placing some padding between the injured and good toe and taping them
securely. This taping shouldn’t be so tight as to cut off blood supply to
the toes but still provide support.
The metatarsal bones in your foot, to which your toes are attached, can get
small cracks or stress fractures over a period of time. Gaining weight or
having weakened muscles can contribute to this. This can also be a sign of
They also occur or in athletes such as gymnasts, runners and dancers.
Recognize a stress fracture by pain in your foot or tenderness.
Refrain from activities that will put further strain on your foot while it
is healing. Swimming is a good substitute activity.
Apply ice packs to your foot and take ibuprofen or aspirin.