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Dr Subbanna MD
Dr Subbanna MD, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 5410
Experience:  American Board Certified Neurologist, Internal Medicine
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Is there a way to tell if you have a fracture in your foot?

Customer Question

Is there a way to tell if you have a fracture in your foot? I have been wearing a brace for over a week now with no relief to the top of my foot. I am not exercising right now because of discomfort. I usually run/walk and lift weights. The pain is worse when putting weight on that foot. There is no swelling and no bruising.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr Subbanna MD replied 2 years ago.
Hi, I am Neuro Doctor, an American Board Certified Neurologist with vast clinical experience and I am very glad to help you with your health question.
Do you have any "localized tenderness" in the foot? (meaning when you press with your one finger at various places on your foot is there any localized area which is significantly more painful due to finger pressure compared to other areas)?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Expert:  Dr Subbanna MD replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for these additional information, couple of more questions;
1) Is this localized tenderness very severe?
2) Have you undergone any X ray of the foot so far?
Expert:  Dr Subbanna MD replied 2 years ago.
Hi, I have posted couple of additional questions above, are you able to see them, or are you encountering any technical glitches to access this site? Please reply to me when your time permits & when you are able to access this site properly (if this is due to technical glitch), once I receive this additional information I will follow up with my answer at the earliest.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
When touching the area it is not severe. The only thing that hurts is putting weight on the foot. No, I have not had an X-ray yet.
Expert:  Dr Subbanna MD replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for all these additional information; I am typing the answer now and I will post my answer here as soon as it is ready.
Expert:  Dr Subbanna MD replied 2 years ago.
Okay I am ready and I will post my answer here.
Please see that there is no absolute way of clinically telling whether one certainly has a fracture or not, rather it is the X ray or a CAT scan which is far more reliable in ruling in or ruling out a fracture - especially minor fractures.
Clinically speaking these below mentioned are some of the typical manifestations of a fracture;
1) Localized tenderness
2) Localized swelling
3) Pain that gets aggravated by using the affected limb (like weight bearing etc)
4) Additional signs like bruising etc
You do not have some of the above manifestations which is in favor of you. And among the various above mentioned manifestations the most reliable are localized tenderness (which you have) & localized bruising (which you do not have), so there are some signs which suggest there may be a fracture and some suggest there may not be any fracture. But even if all these manifestations are present these are still not 100% reliable because even if all these above mentioned signs are present still there may not be any fracture because even a ligament injury or some other kind of soft tissue injury too can cause all these manifestations. And the most reliable way to tell whether one has fracture or not is by doing an X ray (sometimes a CAT scan may be needed too but most often a simple X ray is enough). So if possible you may please try to undergo an X ray of the foot so that we can confidently rule out or rule in a fracture.
In the mean time the treatment options would include resting the foot as much as possible, avoiding weight bearing, continuing with the bracing, using anti-inflammatory pain killers, heat or cold compressors etc to provide symptomatic relief and if this is just soft tissue injury without any fracture then these symptoms take about 4 weeks or so in many patients to resolve completely.
Please go through the above information and let me know if you have any further questions. And if you feel you have received the answer to your question please rate me to compensate me for the time and effort put by me in answering your question.
Best regards,
Neuro Doctor

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