how would i know if i broke my foot? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 01-13-2007, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i was going down the stair, and my foot twisted at the very last step and i fell. it wasn't my ankle, the middle of my foot. the pain was moderate when i fell, but not too bad. i put ice on it for 15 min, and then some arnica. it hurte when i massaged the cream.

i didn't think much of it, and was planning to go out for a walk, but when i got up i realised i could not step well on the foot.

when dh tried to bandage it, the pain got worse.

if it at rest, there is no pain. there is no no big swelling or bruising.

when i try to step on it the pain is dull but pretty strong. to be honest, i haven't tried to fully weight bear on it. i am too scared.

when do you think i need to get it checked?

i also have a cold and am not feeling great, so going to the er would be nighmarish...

EDIT: anyone knows whether the fact that my toes feel a bit stiff and don't curl down straight means somethign is broken, or muscle damage can cause this too? the index toe is missaligned...
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#2 of 20 Old 01-13-2007, 05:52 PM
 
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Only way to find out is an x-ray. Sooner is better than later if it is actually broken. Sorry you foot hurts, and that you're probably going to endure a lousy ER visit. Here's hoping it's not a fracture :
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#3 of 20 Old 01-13-2007, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Only way to find out is an x-ray. Sooner is better than later if it is actually better. Sorry you foot hurts, and that you're probably going to endure a lousy ER visit. Here's hoping it's not a fracture :
thanks. that's logical. i was hoping for a magic answer.

if i go now i will spend 5-6 h. there. oh so don't want to go.........
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#4 of 20 Old 01-13-2007, 06:05 PM
 
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I broke my foot last May. I heard it "pop" when I fell, and it popped up with a goose-egg within 2 minutes where the break(s) were. (Different interpretations of the x-rays).

I iced it and kept it elevated. I called my primary care physicians office. They got me into an x-ray appt much quicker than the ER would have. I went to their office first and saw the nurse practitioner. I initially didn't want an x-ray, and she was just about to let me go with "conservative" care (ice and elevation for 2 days, then re-assess), but I mentioned hearing the "pop." That sealed my x-ray fate. I got in for an x-ray about 2 hours later, at the outpatient convienent care center, not the hosp. (fewer germs and less wait)

Still, even though they saw the break on the x-ray, I didn't get in to see an orthopaedist until 2 days later. Initial instructions were the same - ice and elevation. The orthopaedist outfitted me with a Cam boot, which was removable for showering. Several people - including a second opinion orthopaedist and my acupuncturist - said the boot wasn't that necessary. It was more to remind me to stay off it and to keep it relatively immobile. A shoe may have worked if I could fit one on (but couldn't with the swelling).

I probably would have faired just as well with better (earlier) wrapping to keep the swelling down, and more frequent and longer Epsom Salt soaks. In my case, it wasn't like the doctor set it or anything.

That all said, can you call your primary for an eval?

In the meantime, ice and elevation. (Of course, don't ice it all time - 20 minutes on ice, then at least 40 off.)


P.S. The second orthopaedist said that my bone would take a long time to heal -"It may never heal." because blood flow to that area is slow. So, while you are healing, anything to increase blood flow would be good. I did acupuncture for a little while, but moved 6 weeks after the break and couldn't find another acupuncturist.

And, yes, I think it may still be broken. Still swells a little and hurts a little about 1-2 times a day and when I bonk it on something or squeeze it.

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#5 of 20 Old 01-13-2007, 06:12 PM
 
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DH slipped on a block last June and fell. His foot really hurt, but he didn't realize it was broken until he went to the doctor A WEEK LATER!!!
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#6 of 20 Old 01-13-2007, 06:16 PM
 
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Can you press on the different bones in your foot without screaming?

I have this 'feeling' that it isn't broken, but you may want to have it looked at. There may be a fracture or chip or something. Did you hear any sort of popping sound? It could also be muscle related. I fell on my arm snowboarding over christmas break. There was a definite *pop*, but it was determined that it wasn't broken or even dislocated by my general mood and attitude. You really don't smile or crack jokes if you've broken or dislocated something! I did go to my dr a couple days later and had an x-ray done. I had torn the muscle from part of my elbow... it's a lot like tennis elbow he said.

But, I would have it looked at if you can't bear any weight on your foot.

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#7 of 20 Old 01-13-2007, 06:42 PM
 
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I'd like to add that my sister broke her toe (after having her foot fall asleep in a long statistics exam - she fell when she got up to turn her exam in, poor thing!!).

She kept walking/playing rugby on that broken toe for 6 weeks. By then, it was too late to really do anything about it. Still bothers her in the bad weather, 9 years later.

My mom broke her foot after slipping on ice. Didn't know it was broken until 4 weeks later, because she was already on pain meds for MS. Finally figured out - smart RN that she is - it was broken when she noticed it was still swollen. She had to stay off it for another 6-8 weeks.

So, it can be broken without you knowing it. The only real way to tell is to x-ray.

Severe or lasting swelling can cause nerve damage. So, if you can't keep the swelling down to a reasonable amount, seek medical attention. (If it tingles, if it's numb, if it starts to hurt in places other than where you think the break is.)


And, I was in a relatively good mood the day that it broke. My spirits were pretty high at least the entire first week. I don't think that mood or spirits are always an indicator of level of physical injury.

DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.

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#8 of 20 Old 01-13-2007, 06:42 PM
 
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You'll need an x-ray to be sure. Of course, if you live in Canada that will require an 8 or 9 hour wait in the hospital waiting room, and then they'll poke at your foot and tell you that there's nothing they can do, unless it broke in one of three very specific places. In some cases, they won't even x-ray and then you get sent home after spending a day in the hospital, and you get to hobble around for weeks not even knowing what's wrong.

Yeah, been there.
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#9 of 20 Old 01-13-2007, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You'll need an x-ray to be sure. Of course, if you live in Canada that will require an 8 or 9 hour wait in the hospital waiting room, and then they'll poke at your foot and tell you that there's nothing they can do, unless it broke in one of three very specific places. In some cases, they won't even x-ray and then you get sent home after spending a day in the hospital, and you get to hobble around for weeks not even knowing what's wrong.

Yeah, been there.
this is my fear. i am feeling sick as it is. we are in a very small town up north. your scenario seems very plausible.
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#10 of 20 Old 01-13-2007, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by wemoon View Post
Can you press on the different bones in your foot without screaming?

I have this 'feeling' that it isn't broken, but you may want to have it looked at. There may be a fracture or chip or something. Did you hear any sort of popping sound? It could also be muscle related. I fell on my arm snowboarding over christmas break. There was a definite *pop*, but it was determined that it wasn't broken or even dislocated by my general mood and attitude. You really don't smile or crack jokes if you've broken or dislocated something! I did go to my dr a couple days later and had an x-ray done. I had torn the muscle from part of my elbow... it's a lot like tennis elbow he said.

But, I would have it looked at if you can't bear any weight on your foot.

okay, tried pressing. the bump is on the side, so hard to check there. the rest are fine. if i press on the bump i wince, and refuse to press harder.

after icing i was able to walk a bit better. i cannot curl my toes easily, though, they seem stiffer, and they don't go down as evenly.

but i can move them manualy without pain. when my toes are all the way down (as far as they'd go) the bump hurts.

i now feel it is probably muscle, but still a bit nervous. i had my other foot broken very badly, when a wheel of a car drove over it. it was broken and dislocated, and the pain was horrendous, of course. so there was no doubt, and it will never be 100%. i am just scared that my other foot will be compromised as well.
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#11 of 20 Old 01-13-2007, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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anyone knows whether the fact that my toes feel a bit stiff and don't curl down straight means somethign is broken, or muscle damage can cause this too? the index toe is missaligned when i curl. when i move them manually they are okay, no pain.
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#12 of 20 Old 01-13-2007, 09:27 PM
 
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I broke my foot and ankle as a teenager and there was a LOT of swelling right away...within 30 minutes it looked like there was a donut under my skin going around my foot! I couldn't move ANYTHING below the break and it was agony. There was horrible bruising that took almost a YEAR to completely go away in my toes where dead blood pooled.

The first couple of days they didn't do anything anyway...they gave me pain medication and told me to come back in 48 hours when the swelling had gone down, so I could get a cast.

In your case I would go see my own doctor first thing Monday morning, rather than endure the ER, especially if your immune system is already down from a cold.
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#13 of 20 Old 01-13-2007, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by PajamaMama View Post
I broke my foot and ankle as a teenager and there was a LOT of swelling right away...within 30 minutes it looked like there was a donut under my skin going around my foot! I couldn't move ANYTHING below the break and it was agony. There was horrible bruising that took almost a YEAR to completely go away in my toes where dead blood pooled.

The first couple of days they didn't do anything anyway...they gave me pain medication and told me to come back in 48 hours when the swelling had gone down, so I could get a cast.

In your case I would go see my own doctor first thing Monday morning, rather than endure the ER, especially if your immune system is already down from a cold.
thanks for the advice. i think i should not panic and wait until monday. i don't have my own doctor yet, we recently moved, but dh says he will take monday off and stay with the kids, and the er should be better monday morning. i hope.

i know the ankle is not affected, only the foot. the swellilng is a bit bigger now, and a bit more pain...

okay, i just need to calm down...
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#14 of 20 Old 01-13-2007, 11:50 PM
 
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My husband has been out of work on disability with a broken foot for the past 6 weeks. He broke the outer aspect of the foot the night before Thanksgiving. We went to the ER and had it x-rayed. He was not seen by the orthopod until the following Tuesday. They put him in a cam walker also. He just got it off last week and is walking fine with a shoe on.
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#15 of 20 Old 01-14-2007, 12:25 AM
 
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I broke my finger playing tennis in college (I was on the team) and within 10 minutes my finger was swollen to about three times it's size (and black and blue) I couldn't move it at all and it hurt like you wouldn't believe.

I went to the sports medicine dept. after my match (my coach made me play on ) and they said it was just jammed, to ice it and elevate it.

Fast forward 2 years later, I jammed it again and it was really bothering me, so I went to my doc for an x-ray - turns out that I had broken it the first time and not jammed it like they said. It just healed a little crooked. He offered to re-break it so it would heal straight (yeah right )

I think even if you did break it, you could probably wait until Monday for the doc to x-ray it if you really don't want to go to the ER. Sooner is better... but if you REALLY don't want to go...

My ex broke his foot one time and waited almost two weeks to go into the doc. (he could still put weight on it and didn't realize it was broken) and it healed just fine. I guess it just depends on your comfort level and what you are feeling. I hope you didn't break it!
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#16 of 20 Old 01-14-2007, 12:34 AM
 
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anyone knows whether the fact that my toes feel a bit stiff and don't curl down straight means somethign is broken, or muscle damage can cause this too? the index toe is missaligned when i curl. when i move them manually they are okay, no pain.
This could be from the inflamation, not necessarily a break.

It's worth repeating -- keep it elevated, even when you sleep, above your heart. I slept on my side (good foot side), with my bad foot on a pillow or 2.

You may need your DH to bring you ice packs (frozen veggies if you don't have enough ice packs to keep them cold as you cycle through them) through the night.

DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.

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#17 of 20 Old 01-14-2007, 01:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This could be from the inflamation, not necessarily a break.

It's worth repeating -- keep it elevated, even when you sleep, above your heart. I slept on my side (good foot side), with my bad foot on a pillow or 2.

You may need your DH to bring you ice packs (frozen veggies if you don't have enough ice packs to keep them cold as you cycle through them) through the night.
thanks. i just came back from the er, i was the only one there, so i really lucked out. the dr touched my foot with one finger and said it is probably a sprain, and schedule me for x-rays on monday. i am glad i have the mdc, because he didn't even tell me what to do -- icing, elevation, weight bearing -- he just said not to exercise it. yeah, right, i can barely step on it.

he said that even if it is broken the only reason to do x-rays would be to determeine how long it will heal, as he would not put a cast on that location. he wasn't very talkative or helpful. i heard he is leaving in 2 weeks and doesn't care about patients any more. well, bon voyage.

well, the good thing is that they saw me right away and that i have an appointment for x-rays.

hm, dh won't be happy bringing me ice packs through the night but i will start with some, and keep it up. i do have an actual ice pack from when my other foot was broken

thank you everybody.

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#18 of 20 Old 01-14-2007, 12:40 PM
 
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You'll need an x-ray to be sure. Of course, if you live in Canada that will require an 8 or 9 hour wait in the hospital waiting room, and then they'll poke at your foot and tell you that there's nothing they can do, unless it broke in one of three very specific places. In some cases, they won't even x-ray and then you get sent home after spending a day in the hospital, and you get to hobble around for weeks not even knowing what's wrong.

Yeah, been there.
This happened to me, except it was a small fracture in my tibia. Of course, the ER also missed some major damage to my knee, it was "just a sprain". They sent me home without any crutches or any pain meds! I've since had 5 surgeries on that knee, and I'll have a knee replacement soon enough. Nah, I'm not bitter.

I'd say better safe than sorry on getting it checked, but if you can wait until you can get into your regular doc (or have your doc call in a referral for an orthopod, which is what we did) you may save a lot of time and headache.

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#19 of 20 Old 01-14-2007, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This happened to me, except it was a small fracture in my tibia. Of course, the ER also missed some major damage to my knee, it was "just a sprain". They sent me home without any crutches or any pain meds! I've since had 5 surgeries on that knee, and I'll have a knee replacement soon enough. Nah, I'm not bitter.

I'd say better safe than sorry on getting it checked, but if you can wait until you can get into your regular doc (or have your doc call in a referral for an orthopod, which is what we did) you may save a lot of time and headache.
ugh, how terrible.

i had a pretty bad pain under the arch during the night, and could barely walk, but tylenol and icing helped. now it seems a bit better. x-rays tomorrow. i honestly don't even know if we have an orhtopod here. i just hope it is a sprain, and that they don't misread the x-rays.
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#20 of 20 Old 01-14-2007, 02:12 PM
 
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Glad to see that you got into the ER last night, and that you weren't in TOO much pain throughout the night. (Do you have a pair of crutches to keep off it? If you use crutches, be sure to get a little instruction on using them; proper usage can prevent muscle wastage.)

Another thing re x-rays - different professionals may read them differently. I had 3 professionals look at mine (2 orthopeds and 1 acupuncturist). 1 orthoped and the acupuncturist thought that their MIGHT be 2 breaks. I would ask for COPIES of each of your x-rays, so that you can take them with you and have your own record. One of my copies was an actual print of the x-ray - the film. The other copy was a photocopy (not great for a professional to really do an eval on), but I also insisted on getting a CD copy of it, so I (or a prof.) can read it on a computer.

DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.

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