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Foot Fracture in Adults


A foot fracture is a break in one or more of the bones in your foot. Foot fractures are commonly caused by trauma, falls, or repeated stress injuries.

Foot Anatomy



  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling and pain. NSAIDs are available without a doctor's order. Ask which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and when to take it. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding and kidney problems if not taken correctly.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or bone specialist as directed:

You may need to return to have your cast, splint, external fixation devices, or stitches removed. You may also need to return for tests to make sure your foot is healing. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Pin care:

If you have pins in your foot, you will need to clean them daily. Cleaning the pins can help prevent an infection. Ask for more information about pin care.

Wound care:

Carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.


  • Rest: You may need to rest your foot and avoid activities that cause pain. For stress fractures, you will need to avoid the activity that caused the fracture until it heals. Ask when you can return to your normal activities such as work and sports.
  • Ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel, and place it on your foot for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as directed.
  • Elevate your foot: Raise your foot at or above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your foot on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
  • Physical therapy: Once your foot has healed, a physical therapist can teach you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

Cast or splint care:

  • Check the skin around your cast and splint daily for any redness or open areas.
  • Do not use a sharp or pointed object to scratch your skin under the cast or splint.
  • Do not remove your splint unless your healthcare provider or orthopedic surgeon says it is okay.

Bathing with a cast or splint:

Do not let your cast or splint get wet. Before bathing, cover the cast or splint with a plastic bag. Tape the bag to your skin above the cast or splint to seal out the water. Keep your foot out of the water in case the bag leaks. Ask when it is okay to take a bath or shower.

Assistive devices:

You may be given a hard-soled shoe to wear while your foot is healing. You also may need to use crutches to help you walk while your foot heals. It is important to use your crutches correctly. Ask for more information about how to use crutches.

Contact your healthcare provider or bone specialist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have new sores around your boot, cast, or splint.
  • You have new or worsening trouble moving your foot.
  • You notice a foul smell coming from under your cast.
  • Your boot, cast, or splint gets damaged.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • The pain in your injured foot gets worse even after you rest and take pain medicine.
  • The skin or toes of your foot become numb, swollen, cold, white, or blue.
  • You have more pain or swelling than you did before the cast was put on.
  • Your wound is draining fluid or pus.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Foot Fracture in Adults (Discharge Care)

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Further information

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