Jane Fonda rests her broken foot on setRecently, Britney Spears made headlines for getting into an altercation at Chauteau Marmont. In the aftermath, she was seen dealing with a foot injury. At first, it seemed like she just might have an ankle sprain. But now, it seems like the foot is broken. And yet, despite her injury, Britney is walking around on the broken foot (in high heels, no less), hoping that her injury will heal itself without surgery. Which, if she keeps up with this kind of behavior, is unlikely to happen. 

Now, Brit is by no means the only celebrity to suffer a public foot injury. In fact, a few years back, Jane Fonda was seen wearing a walking boot and elevating her broken foot while on the set of her now wrapped up Netflix show, Grace and Frankie. But unlike Britney, Jane's injury was not caused by an acute incident. Rather, it was the result of internal forces working against her bone health. Because, unfortunately the actress, who was diagnosed with osteoarthritis at the age of  65, and who also suffered from bulimia and breast cancer in the past, is no stranger to broken bones; she’s admitted to the Daily Mail that, “My bones are fragile…I’ve broken one foot four times and the other foot once and I’ve broken a lot of other bones too.”

Regardless of the cause of a broken bone, rest is crucial to recovery. But, depending on the severity of your injury, treatment plans may differ. So, how do we treat broken bones in our Houston podiatry practice? And can arthritis-related fractures like Ms. Fonda's be prevented? Keep reading for all the important details. 

Types of Foot Fracture

Whether caused by arthritis, injuries, or overuse, a broken bone's treatment is determined by the type of fracture you sustain. And the location of your broken bone matters, too. You see, when you injure your foot bones, you could merely suffer a stress fracture. (That's a small break in the bone.) Or, you could suffer a full break, but the pieces of bone stay in alignment. Finally, if your bone fragments shift out of alignment (a displaced fracture) your treatment will be more involved. Usually, in these cases, your treatment will involve surgery, followed by immobilization. 

Broken Bone in Foot: What are the Causes?

In our office, most patients who come in for foot x-rays have suffered an injury. Or in some cases, they are runners who suspect they've got a stress fracture. And both are common causes of toe, foot and ankle fractures. 

But when it comes to older patients like Jane Fonda, there's another common cause of broken bones: foot and ankle arthritis. Or, more specifically, osteoarthritis. But what is osteoarthritis? Well, it's the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. The condition is both progressive and incurable. As a result, complications of arthritis grow worse as you grow older. (Although you can often slow progression with early intervention.) And, when you combine this condition with other bone-weakening factors like Jane has, it is no surprise that she has suffered multiple fractures. But that doesn't mean that broken bones are guaranteed to be part of your future. 

Preventing Broken Bones Caused by Arthritis

Now, having arthritis will pre-dispose your body to breaking bones. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take preventative measures to protect yourself. In fact, there are several ways to protect yourself from foot fractures. Even if you have arthritis.

First of all, here's some great news. You can actually strengthen your bones through exercise, reducing your risk for stress and other fractures. In fact, engaging in regular, moderate exercise for at least six months can actually help you build bone density. And, if you go on and add calcium and Vitamin D into your diet? These simple moves will further support your bone strength. In turn, you may be able to prevent further deterioration and injuries like foot fractures.

Of course any such workout program must be supervised by your doctor in order to make sure your aren’t at risk of injury. So, if you have weak bones or have repeatedly suffered fractures in your feet, you should schedule an appointment with our Houston podiatrist. Together, we can come up with a plan to protect the delicate bones in your feet while still allowing you to stay active. 

But if you suspect you may already have a foot fracture? Don't pull a Britney and keep walking around like nothing's changed in your life. Instead, stop everything and come into the office for an immediate x-ray. Then, if we detect any kind of fracture to your bones, we'll come up with the right treatment plan to ensure proper healing. And, whether that involves rest and immobilization, or leads you to surgery, following your recovery plan will speed healing and get you back on your feet as soon as possible. 

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