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Foot Fracture in Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is a foot fracture?
A foot fracture is a break in a bone in your child's foot.
What are the signs and symptoms of a foot fracture?
- Pain and swelling in the injured foot
- Decreased ability to move the foot or walk
- Bruising or open breaks in the skin of the injured foot
- A different shape to your child's foot
How is a foot fracture diagnosed?
Your child's healthcare provider will examine the foot. He or she may touch the foot to see if your child has decreased feeling. He or she will check for any open breaks in the skin. He or she may check foot movement. Your child may need any of the following tests:
- An x-ray, CT scan, or MRI may be used to check your child's foot for a broken bones or other injuries. Contrast liquid may be used to help the foot show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not let your child enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has any metal in or on his or her body.
- A bone scan may be used to check for a broken bone. Your child will be given a small amount of radioactive dye in an IV. Pictures will then be taken of his or her foot.
How is a foot fracture treated?
- A cast or splint on your child's foot and lower leg will prevent movement and help the foot heal.
- Medicines may be used to prevent or treat pain or a bacterial infection. Your child may need a tetanus vaccine if the skin is broken. This may be needed if your child has not had a tetanus booster in the past 5 to 10 years.
- Surgery may be used to return bones to their normal positions. Wires or screws may be used to hold the bones in place.
How can I help my child's foot heal?
- Have your child rest his or her foot and avoid activities that cause pain.
- Apply ice to decrease swelling and pain, and to prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it to your child's foot. Use ice for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.
- Elevate your child's foot above the level of his or her heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop the foot on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
When should I seek immediate care?
- Your child has increased pain that does not go away even after he or she takes pain medicine.
- Your child's cast breaks or is damaged.
- Your child's leg or toes feel numb.
- Your child's skin or toenails become swollen, cold, or turn white or blue.
- Blood soaks through your child's splint or cast.
When should I call my child's doctor?
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child's cast has new blood stains or a foul smell.
- Your child has more swelling than before a cast or splint was put on.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. 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.
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