You have 26 bones in each foot, but that doesn’t mean that all foot fractures involve the same form of treatment. While a number of foot and toe fractures will heal without the need for surgery, there are some specific foot fractures that are more complex than others, and they will require some individualized attention from a foot specialist to ensure healing occurs as needed. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at five types of complex foot fractures, and why they can be tricky to treat.
Common Complex Foot Fractures
Here’s a look at five foot fractures that may require special attention to ensure that healing progresses as expected.
- Lisfranc Fracture – A Lisfranc fracture involves a break in the midfoot at the Lisfranc joint complex. This area is where the metatarsal bones connect to your tarsal bones, and a fracture in this area can oftentimes lead to midfoot instability. The positioning of this joint can make it hard for the fracture to maintain proper alignment while healing, and if the bones don’t heal in alignment, pain and discomfort can linger.
- Calcaneal Fracture – A fracture of the calcaneus (heel bone) can be complex for a number of reasons. For starters, the heel has a unique shape that can lead to problematic fracture patterns, especially because heel fractures are oftentimes the result of high-energy trauma. Additionally, the calcaneus has a rather limited blood supply, and healthy blood is crucial to the healing process. If the bone doesn’t heal correctly, it can cause problems for the entire foot complex.
- Talar Fractures – A talar injury involves a fracture to the dome-shaped bone that helps to form your ankle joint. Your talus plays an important role in weight-bearing and mobility, so a talar fracture needs to heal properly, otherwise movement can be compromised. The bone is covered in cartilage, which can make it harder for the surgeon to address the bone during an operation, and it too gets a limited blood supply compared to other bones in the body. Its unique dome shape can also make it more likely that the fracture will not heal in the correct alignment.
- Jones Fracture – A Jones fracture involves a break in the fifth metatarsal bone in your foot at the base of your pinky toe. You may be surprised to learn that this bone handles a fair amount of stress as you move, which can make it hard to protect the area from trauma during the healing process. Also, this tiny bone is the furthest point in your body from your heart, and this means that blood supply is limited. Without a healthy blood supply, healing can be delayed, which is why this fracture commonly needs surgery in order to ensure adequate healing.
- Pilon Fracture – A final complex fracture that we’ll spotlight is the pilon fracture. This injury occurs at the bottom of your tibia and involves the ankle joint. Because the tibia is typically very strong and stable, pilon fractures usually involve significant trauma to the shin and ankle. A high-energy injury will also usually involve damage to nearby soft tissues that will also require treatment. A pilon fracture involves the articular surface of the tibia, which is responsible for smooth joint movement. If this bone doesn’t heal perfectly, any movement of the ankle joint can lead to symptoms or discomfort.
Hopefully you never need to treat one of the above complex fractures, but you can take solace in knowing that if it ever comes to it, Dr. McDonald and his team are here to help. For more information about any of these complex fractures, or for assistance dealing with a more mundane foot condition, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (860) 244-8889.