broken foot or fracture is one of the most common bone injuries people experience. According to Web MD, roughly one in every ten fractures occurs in the foot. Whether these are stress fractures or are caused by major accidents, these fractures require treatment in order to heal properly.

While this type of injury happens frequently, many people have difficulty determining whether or not their foot is actually broken. Without clear signs of a displaced bone, some people assume that their foot is just sprained, so they neglect to get the medical attention they need. Because fractures can be serious, it is important for people to be aware of the signs of a broken foot so that they know if and when they need to seek medical treatment.

Signs of a broken foot

In order to distinguish between a fracture or a sprain, people who experience a foot injury should be aware of the following symptoms that typically signal a broken foot:

Intense pain

Unlike a sprain, broken bones tend to cause a significant amount of pain when the injury occurs. An individual who experiences throbbing pain in the affected area immediately after a fall or other form of a foot injury most likely has a broken a bone. In addition to feeling pain at the moment of the injury, people who break bones in their foot will often experience pulsating pain whenever they try to touch, move or use their foot. Individuals who cannot apply weight to their feet or move their toes after an injury probably have a broken bone.

Foot deformity

A clear sign that a person has a broken foot is any sort of foot deformity that occurs after an incident. If a person’s toes or foot appears crushed or is angled in an unnatural way after a fall or dropping something on the foot, then chances are the foot is broken.


Swelling at the site of a foot injury, especially swelling that persists over time, is a strong indicator of a foot fracture. Individuals should compare the swelling between the injured foot and their other foot to determine the level of swelling. Although swelling also tends to occur with sprains, it can be a sign of a broken foot if it affects a large area of the foot and continues to grow over a short period of time.

Inability to walk

The inability to walk or bear weight on a foot after an incident is a sign that there might be a broken bone. Individuals who have difficulty walking or even putting slight pressure on the foot should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Bruising and open wounds

Individuals who experience a foot injury should immediately check the area where they feel any pain. If there is any broken skin, exposed bone or bruising, there might be a serious fracture present in the foot.

Treating a broken foot

After a foot injury, individuals should immediately check the affected areas of the foot. If any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above are present, it is important that the individual see a doctor right away.

A doctor will be able to further examine the foot and decide on the best course of action. Sometimes this involves the individual wearing a boot to help the fracture heal and prevent further damage. With more serious fractures, the break may require surgery to correct. People who suspect they might have a broken foot should seek treatment from a doctor as soon as possible.

Request an appointment here: or call Ambulatory Foot & Ankle Clinic at (208) 803-0010 for an appointment in our Pocatello office.

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