My foot is
May 12, 2008 9:09 AM   Subscribe

How do I care for a broken foot?

Metatarsel first fractured now broken. Pain on upper foot, along the middle. Can't put down pressure. How to self-treat and heal? Supplements, bandages, compresses?

Thank you,
(carrying no water this week and in the weeks to come....)

posted by watercarrier to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Doctor? Cast? Your foot has to support you for the rest of your life... you don't want it knitting together in a wonky manner and cursing you until the end of your days. I strongly advise against self-treating one of the two structures that keep you upright and capable of doing the locomotion.
posted by mumkin at 9:17 AM on May 12, 2008

Response by poster: Ok...just wondering since what I was told that doctor won't put a cast on a broken metatarsel - just a bandage and the main thing is rest. So this is wrong info? Thanks :)
posted by watercarrier at 9:21 AM on May 12, 2008

Best answer: You can't mess around with feet, you're going to have to be on them for a long time. If you rely on AsKMe now, you may wind up here again in a few years asking for ways to conceal your limp.

You think it's expensive to go see a doctor and get x-rays? Imagine how much more it will cost to get the bone re-broken so it can heal properly.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 9:23 AM on May 12, 2008

Seriously, dude. Go to the doctor.
posted by chiababe at 9:23 AM on May 12, 2008

I think it's TOES that doctors usually just tape up, not feet. I agree, though, see the doctor. If it was just fractured and now is officially broken, I'd wonder if you may also have bone chips floating around in there which could do all sorts of things...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:33 AM on May 12, 2008

Best answer: I am not a doctor etc., but I can google, and I find a number of references to using those plastic velcro-closure boot-casts to immobilize the foot while a broken metatarsal heals. This allows you to remove it when working with a physical therapist to keep your ankle from completely seizing up during the cast-wearing period. Look at the illustration on this page and hope that you don't have a displaced metatarsal fracture, for which surgical intervention may be required.

It's possible that the way that your foot is broken will require very little on the part of a doctor, and that you'll just be advised to keep off of it, but you need to see a professional to determine if that's the right course of treatment or if it calls for something further. You really really want to be able to rely on your feet.
posted by mumkin at 9:36 AM on May 12, 2008

As a medical librarian, I say, "Check out MedLinePlus, the government-funded website that is a metadirectory of physican-reviewed medical information for consumers. According to the multiple links that you can locate when searching for "metatarsal fracture," there are several methods for treatment, which can include casting or other types of immobolization. So whoever told you "they don't cast metatarsals" was incorrect. Of course, only your doctor can determine the right course of treatment for you."

As someone who self-treated a broken toe, I say "Go to a doctor." My toe never healed right and still hurts, 15 years after I broke it.
posted by holyrood at 9:38 AM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Go to a doctor.

I had a non-dislocated fracture of my third metatarsal, didn't get it treated, and it still bothers me 15 years later.
posted by tiburon at 9:42 AM on May 12, 2008

It all depends on the kind and severity of the break. If it's displaced, it will have to be set (allow it to heal without setting it, and you're in for a world of hurt). However, since you don't appear to be in excruciating pain, the doctor will probably just send you on your way and tell you to rest it, or he might give you a soft cast. Regardless, you should go get it professionally checked out, for all the reasons that everyone above me has said. Just don't come back annoyed about a wasted visit if it turns out to be nothing special.
posted by phunniemee at 9:47 AM on May 12, 2008

Best answer: I am not a doctor, but am currently suffering from a broken fifth metatarsal. Get thee to a doctor (or the ER, and from there, you'll probably be sent to an orthopedist). If broken foot bones don't heal correctly, they quite often end up needing surgery. If there's already bone chips or notable displacement of the bones, you may need it already. Broken metatarsals are not at all like broken toes where a doctor can't do much.

You'll almost certainly end up in a cast, or, like me, a big ugly velcro boot thingy that has the perk of being removable for washing and scratching and occasional five minute mental health breaks (I'm intensely claustrophobic, so the last thing is important to me).

For the time being, wrap it up to stabilize the foot, elevate it above your heart, and take two tylenol every four hours. Advil helps with the pain better than tylenol, but there's a fair bit of evidence that NSAID drugs like Advil can slow the union of fractured bones (re: my orthopedist).
posted by mostlymartha at 10:56 AM on May 12, 2008

Yeah, broken bones are one of the things that modern medicine is really good at. Please get professional help.
posted by pullayup at 1:26 PM on May 12, 2008

If you haven't seen a doctor, how do you even know that it's a broken metatarsal? Or that it's just one? Or that it's not a more complex fracture?

I broke a couple of metatarsals a few years ago and tried to avoid going to a doctor (thought my foot was just sprained, not broken). When I finally did go, the doctor put me in a walking cast for three months. He said it would have been more like three weeks had I come in right away. Doctor, immobilize, rest, and don't mess around with this. If indeed it is just one simple metatarsal fracture, which you won't know until you see a doctor.
posted by decathecting at 3:36 PM on May 12, 2008

I have taped up a big toe that turned out to be broken (I guess, I never did see anyone about it). After a year it got back to the same range of motion as the other one. I've been perfectly happy not to have seen a doctor about it.

I mention all this so you will take me seriously when I say you need to see a doctor about a broken metatarsal, especially one you describe as fractured and then broken. Do you mean it got a crack in it, and then the crack came apart? Someone who can look at your foot on an xray needs to put it back together.

Call your local doc-in-box clinic and see how much this would cost, it might be cheaper than some of your other options. Regular docs will sometimes give a discount if you are paying out of pocket, but often won't be able to give you a price quote.
posted by yohko at 4:56 PM on May 12, 2008

Response by poster: Just a PS - went to the hospital - x-rays the whole nine yards - got a cast up to my knee and it weighs a ton. Will have to be immobilized basically for a month. Argh. Why are these things so heavy......and it's a pain in the ass to boot. Oh well, just wanted to thank you guys for giving me the incentive to go - especially the ones who told their personal stories of 15 years ago - that may have pushed me....thanks everyone for your good advice, vibes and straight up telling it like it is. So - no more water carrying for at least 4 weeks. Bummer. But maybe there's a silver lining in this here cast. I'll have to wait and see. Blessings, y'all.
posted by watercarrier at 2:12 PM on May 13, 2008

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