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Old 07-07-2003, 12:56 PM
lovelee lovelee is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 385
I broke a bone in my foot. How long before it's healed?

I broke a bone in my foot last night while attempting to race up twisty stairs barefooted. Lost my footing, came down on the side of my foot wrong.. heard a "pop". I thought it was just a sprain or something until I went to the doctor this morning - they sent me home with the ugly shoe.

It hurts. I'm just whining. Anyone else break bones in their feet? How long is this healing really going to take? The doctor said 3-6 weeks, which is a pretty long span for the ugly shoe. For comparison's sake, it's the 5th metatarsal on my right foot.
Old 07-07-2003, 01:45 PM
Zenster Zenster is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 9,515
I broke a bone in my foot. How long before it's healed?

Short answer: Forevah!

Long answer: STAY OFF OF YOUR FOOT! Use a crutch, hop on your one (good) foot, but DO NOT put your weight on the injured pod. Do so and it will never mend properly. Foot and ankle fractures are among the slowest to heal precisely because people refuse to stay off of them. Your foot has one of the (if not the) highest concentration of small bones in your body. The metacarpal (wrist) area is its only rival. When your doctor said 3-6 weeks, he meant it. If you want to avoid foot pain (and a free barometer of weather changes) for the rest of your life, stay the heck off of your injured trotter. Screw the ugly shoe, it's your best friend right now, although, if you're putting your weight on that foot, trouble's all you'll get. Find a crutch at your local Goodwill right away and use it religiously.
Old 07-07-2003, 01:53 PM
Blonde Blonde is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 2,416
I've always heard the healing time is six weeks for a fracture (even a hairline one), six weeks for a sprain, six weeks for a torn other words, six weeks.

Ouch! Get well soon.
Old 07-07-2003, 01:59 PM
Eve Eve is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 22,064
I'm just recovered from a broken toe and a sprained ankle . . . Give it at least a month before it even starts thinking about healing—and that's if you stay off your feet and keep your foot elevated. You probably won't be back to 100% for two months.
Old 07-07-2003, 02:00 PM
peedin peedin is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,415
Depending on your age...minimum of 6 weeks. I had a stress fracture this winter (third metatarsal) that went undetected for 4 weeks so I wasn't able to get the ugly shoe which I actually wanted because I figured it would stop the fracture from hurting. Took 8 weeks for that sucker to heal and it still aches sometimes. Wear the ugly shoe, limit activity, etc. If you don't, it will take longer to heal.
Old 07-07-2003, 02:09 PM
WillGolfForFood WillGolfForFood is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: USA (Pennsylvania)
Posts: 788
I broke the fifth metatarsal on my foot once (for the lurkers, think of the long bone running from your ankle to your little toe - it's apparently one of the bones most likely to break in your foot, particularly susceptible when you land on the outside edge). The first doctor I went to told me that I would be wearing a cast for six weeks. When I asked him why it would be that long, he would only tell me that he was the doctor and that's just the way it was.

I didn't like that response, so I went to a doctor specializing in sports medicine to get another opinion. He told me that it would be eight weeks, not six - but showed me the X-ray and told me exactly why. I had a "greenstick fracture" which traversed a good way along the length of the bone, and those fractures take a lot longer to heal.

(Think in terms of a spiral-shaped fracture traversing the length of the bone instead of a "snap" break directly across the bone.)
Old 07-07-2003, 02:37 PM
lovelee lovelee is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 385
Yikes. I'm going to go get some crutches post-haste. The doctor didn't even mention those. I'm afraid I'll injure my other foot from all the hopping I'm doing!

Mine was pretty much a "snap" right in the middle. Right where I landed on it.
Old 07-07-2003, 02:55 PM
krisolov krisolov is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: State of Equilibrium
Posts: 857
expert victim on broken bones. Broke a few metatarsals and also the metacarpal Zenster mentioned above. If you just got the ugly shoe, you're lucky. I was in a cast for 8 weeks with two busted metatarsals. And that was when I was younger and healed more quickly. It'll be a gradual process. At least 4 weeks if you're young and treat it well (I recommend a cane over crutches), 8 or more if you're cavalier about it. You will also need to consider that in the future it may get aggravated if you are very active, and feel like you've re-injured it. Happened to me when I was running a lot, probably 10 years after it was initially broken.
Old 07-07-2003, 04:54 PM
Avarie537 Avarie537 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Home of SuperBowl XLVI
Posts: 3,695
My MIL broke something in her foot a few years ballroom dancing, IIRC. Her's wasn't detected for a while, and re-breaks on occasion. I don't think it ever healed properly, so do be careful!
Old 07-07-2003, 05:47 PM
Mariachi Kitty Mariachi Kitty is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Near the Morrow Plots
Posts: 75
I've had a Jones Fracture (special break of 5th metatarsal) and right now have a stress fracture of the 5th metatarsal (same foot, dammit.)

First, if your doc is saying 3-6 weeks, that's a good sign. If s/he was saying things like, oh, it's a Jones Fracture or a Dancer's Fracture, then 3-6 months would be good, especially if you avoid a pin/screw thingy. But, with these special breaks, you don't get the ugly shoe at first, anyway. You get a hard cast, then a walking cast, then, in a few months, the ugly shoe. Factor in crutches to create fun combinations of medical equipment, too. By the time you get to the ugly shoe with crutches, the ugly shoe is AWESOME!

Plus, the ugly shoe means that your doc thinks you can put weight on it. Just remember to walk flat-footed with that foot -- that's the whole point of the ugly shoe. You shouldn't be walking normally with it at all. Plop it down gently and evenly. This means you'll be taking smaller than average steps. And really, just because you can walk on it, doesn't mean you should do it a lot. Rest is good at this point.

Anyway, I've been telling people that my current ugly shoe isn't's VELCROTASTIC!
Old 07-07-2003, 10:01 PM
Zenster Zenster is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 9,515
krisolov, makes a useful point. While I still recommend at least one, if not two crutches, a cane can be useful for when you need to attend a formal occassion. Because your feet take such a beating, I still stand by my overall recommendation of staying the heck off your foot. The less you use it the sooner and better it will heal. My landlord broke one of his ankles and insisted on being macho about it. He walked all during the healing phase and now will have pain for the rest of his life. Take no chances and err on the side of caution.

To improve your odds of healing completely, you will want to reduce or eliminate your caffeine and alcohol intake. Both of them tend to impede circulation. Because you have injured an extremity, it will be the most susceptible to vasoconstrictors. Another good technique is to always "wake up" your foot before using it at all. In the morning, before getting out of bed, wiggle your toes, rotate your ankle and move your foot in general. You may wish to avoid curling your toes inward to prevent further stress of the injury site. Nonetheless, the more you "wake up" your foot, the better all of the muscles will respond to their initial use.

This sort of preparation technique should help. Another avenue to investigate is massage. While it is inadvisable to directly massage the injury site, peripheral palpation of the limb in general will improve circulation. Better blood flow will speed your healing time. Look into a topical application like Tiger Balm or something similar. They have the reputation of dialating blood vessles near the skin.

As always, be sure to consult your physician first. I'm not medically trained, no matter how much I like to play doctor.
Old 07-07-2003, 11:06 PM
danceswithcats danceswithcats is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Voting anti-obamanation
Posts: 10,300
I'm celebrating the third anniversary of six broken vertebrae. Be happy you can hop about-I was learning how to use a walker while my torso was in a proximal splint.

Listen to the Doc, and rehab as hard as they will allow you to do.

Be well.
Crows. Keeping our highways clear of roadkill for over 80 years
Old 07-08-2003, 02:08 AM
Primaflora Primaflora is offline
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Brisbane Q Australia
Posts: 2,529
I broke mine 11 years ago. I got no ugly shoe, no rehab, no nothing. Walked and used it like normal even though it hurt because nobody told me any different.

It took about 6 weeks to heal and I've never had any problems with it since. Drank coffee, drank alcohol, took no care of myself whatsoever.

I'm thinking I was very lucky.
Old 07-08-2003, 07:15 AM
lovelee lovelee is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 385
I got the crutches yesterday. They'll take some getting used to, as I've never had them before. I can just tell my apartment is going to get ridiculously messy because I can't really motor around for cleaning very well.

The pain is kind of weird. Sometimes it's a very acute "twinge", but usually it's just sort of a dull background throb. I've broken bones before, but I was young and don't remember - it's an odd feeling.
Old 07-08-2003, 11:18 AM
KRC KRC is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Albuqerque
Posts: 2,329
I broke my second toe bone in 1987 and was in a cast for 6 weeks. I was only on crutches for 10 days but it seemed like an eternity to me. After that I had a walking cast and I guess I overdid it because I walked so much the cast had to be reinforced. Probably I should have taken it easy and given my foot a rest--I don't think the foot ever healed properly because I limped for years afterward and I still have trouble with it sometimes.
Old 07-08-2003, 02:59 PM
White Lightning White Lightning is offline
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Berkeley, CA. \X/
Posts: 3,509
I sprained an ankle last June 30th -- my GP said it was among the worst he had ever seen. I was on crutches alone for 1 month and got the 'ugly shoe' (never heard that one) for another month after that. It still hurt and swelled up with any exercise for months after that, and just yesterday I was noticing that my range of motion with that ankle still doesn't quite measure up to my good one. The doc and the orthopedist both told me that I'd have been luckier to have broken it because broken ankles heal about twice as fast, and have fewer continuing problems, compared to sprains.

Dunno about broken feet bones though. Just sharing my experience. One upside of the crutch thing is that after a month of crutching around my shoulders were gigantic. Best shape my upper body has ever been in in my life. Of course, one of my legs was shrunken and shrivelled after having been immobile for 6 weeks.


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