Broken Foot

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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What are the causes of a broken foot?

A fracture, break, and crack all mean the same thing when it comes to a bone injury: the integrity of the bone has been damaged. The cause of injury may be obvious, such as jumping from a height or a heavy object falling and landing on the foot, or it may develop gradually over time, such as the result of the constant stress of walking or running.

  • Foot fractures account for 10% of all the broken bones in the body, and the mechanism of injury usually can give a clue as to what bone might be injured.
  • Fractures of the calcaneus (heel bone) usually occur when a person jumps or falls from a height, landing directly on their feet. The force of the landing may also be transmitted up the body to cause fractures of the ankle, knee, hip, and lumbar spine.
  • Injuries to the midfoot, the metatarsals, and phalanges often are caused by a direct blow sustained when a kick goes awry or from a crush injury when a heavy object is dropped on the foot.
  • Twisting injuries can cause bones to break. For example, fractures of the base of the fifth metatarsal occur when the ankle rolls inward and a fragment of the bone is pulled off (avulsed) by the peroneus tendon.
  • The most common causes of foot injuries include falls; crush injuries (including impacts from a heavy object or an automobile accident) missed steps, and stress/overuse injuries.

Pictures of the bones in the foot

Picture of the Bones in the Foot
Picture of the Bones in the Foot

Picture of the metatarsal (foot) and calcaneus (heel) bones, the plantar fascia ligament, and the Achilles tendon of the lower leg and foot
Picture of the metatarsal (foot) and calcaneus (heel) bones, the plantar fascia ligament, and the Achilles tendon of the lower leg and foot

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/29/2015
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