Foot fractures are so common that one out of every ten cases of broken bone injuries occur in the foot. The human foot seems small compared to other parts of the body, but that small area consists of an intricate configuration of twenty-six bones. Yes, indeed the human foot has twenty-six bones and is divided into three parts namely forefoot, hindfoot and midfoot. The forefoot is the long front part of the foot, consisting of nineteen (19) bones. The hindfoot is made up of two bones, the talus and calcaneus. The talus is a bone in the ankle that connects the lower leg to the foot while the calcaneus forms the heel bone. Lastly, the midfoot is comprised of five (5) smaller bones called the navicular, cuboid and three (3) cuneiform bones. Additionally, there are small pebble sized bones, known as sesamoid bones, which do not serve any real purpose other than being a filler for muscles and joints.
When there is an opposing force that abruptly bends, hits, or twists the bone it usually breaks, causing immense pain. Fractures can happen much easier than people realize; for example, accidentally kicking a hard object will lead to broken toes and improperly landing from a fall or jump could lead to a broken heel. Most bone fractures result from accidents and are instantaneous, others occur from repeated stress on the bones called stress fractures. This condition is common to soldiers and athletes like runners and gymnasts.
These are the common symptoms of foot fractures: pain, bruising and swelling around majority of the foot. These symptoms are also present in foot sprains and is sometimes difficult to tell whether a person has a fractured bone or sprain just by looking at it. It is not just bone fractures that cause swelling, there are many other conditions associated with foot swelling. For example: edema swelling is due to the foot retaining too much fluid; during pregnancy most women experience swollen feet, pre-eclampsia can occur during pregnancy also have symptoms of swollen feet; lymphedema, the feet will become swollen also because the body is trying to get rid of fewer fluids; chronic venous insufficiency can likewise cause feet swelling; heart failure causes feet swelling because the blood cannot flow in the right direction; kidney disease similarly causes swollen feet due to the large amount of sodium that remains in the blood which causes the body to hold on to more water; and someone with liver disease commonly develops swollen feet.
Aside from the medical treatment that can be done to foot swelling and foot fractures, there are also home remedies that can help ease the problem. One of which is using R.I.C.E. or rest, ice, compression and elevation. If the foot fracture requires emergency medical care, this applies after being discharged from the hospital. Resting, applying ice and elevating your leg will help reduce pain during the recovery period. Compression is an optional, but highly recommended process in expediting the recovery. It is best to use compression socks because it helps reduce swelling by constraining the fluid to drain away from the applied area which also alleviates pain and tension. The compression socks mimic the pumping of the muscles which helps provide more oxygen to the affected area and improves the damaged tissues. The compression socks also provide added ankle stability and control to prevent foot fractures from irregular activity and reduces the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. Compression socks are one of the most effective compression garments that enhance the recovery of foot and leg injuries.
In using compression socks there are tips to consider to make the usage of the socks stress-free. It is suggested that compression socks should be put first thing in the morning when the feet are less swollen. To ensure that you are wearing the correct size of compression socks it is best to take proper measurements because using the wrong compression might create more complications rather than improve the issue. It is also advised that you don’t wear compression socks when lying completely flat like when sleeping. For athletes, it is recommended to use compression sleeves during activities and compression socks for recovery on the following day. To allow the feet to breathe during summer months, it is best to wear open toe compression socks.
After 3 months, it is advised to replace the compression socks because the sock material will generally lose some elasticity and degrade over time. When cleaning the compression socks or any compression garments, it is best to use cold water and a mild cleaning solution. Air dry; do NOT use fabric softeners or hot air. It is NOT recommended to machine wash or dry the garment because it might damage the compression garment's elasticity; small mesh laundry bags can be a solution.
If you are planning on buying a compression garment, just visit Doc Miller Compression, there are many different compression garments to choose from!
Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as medical advice. Please contact a licensed physician for a proper diagnosis of your specific case.