Any type of fracture can prove to be a devastating injury and can cause lasting damage if not treated properly and quickly. If you have suffered a fracture of the foot, this small bone damage can actually lead to something much worse. Your first port of call should always be to make a doctor’s appointment – a doctor can book an X-Ray to assess the severity of the fracture, and they can organize proper medical care. Up until the doctor’s appointment, however, there are several things you can do to heal the fracture and prevent any further damage.
How can you heal a fractured foot?
1. Rest and avoid putting weight on it
This is the most important thing you can do to help heal your fracture and avoid any further damage. A fracture usually occurs on one of your metatarsals which absorb much of the pressure from walking and/or running – continuing to walk and put weight on a fracture will only increase the damage and could even cause the fracture to break further. It is important to rest as much as possible to maintain your strength, and to avoid putting weight on it – crutches are ideal.
2. Apply ice to reduce swelling
As soon as you have identified the fracture you should apply ice to the area immediately. Ice is a great way to reduce swelling and also to numb the pain slightly too. When using ice, you should never apply it directly to your skin as it can stick and cause damage – wrap the ice bag in a cloth. Use ice immediately, and then during recovery, use ice packs for periods of 20 minutes, several times each day.
3. Compress your ankle lightly with a bandage
To further reduce swelling and help the bones stay in place whilst minimizing the risk of jarring your foot, consider wrapping it in a soft bandage. Do not wrap the bandage too tightly as this can prevent sufficient blood flow, and it could also cause the bones to rub together. Lightly wrap your foot with a soft bandage for extra support and cushioning.
4. Elevate your foot higher than your heart
Whenever you are resting, your foot should be in a raised position – preferably above the height of your heart. This can help blood flow and will also greatly reduce the pressure placed on your foot. When resting your foot, place it up on a cushion or soft surface to avoid additional stress.
5. Consider taking anti-inflammatory drugs
Taking anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce swelling in conjunction with a bandage and ice. Furthermore, these tablets can also help ease any pain you are suffering. Always read the instructions when taking tablets and do not exceed the maximum stated dosage.
A foot fracture can take between 6 to 8 weeks to heal fully depending on the severity. In most cases, your doctor will simply advise to rest and take anti-inflammatory drugs. Surgery will only be necessary if the fracture is severe and if it can’t be healed naturally.