If you google, how long will it take my broken foot to heal, you'll probably read that it takes six to eight weeks. And it's true, that is the general rule of thumb for a broken foot bone to heal.
No matter how much you want to negotiate the healing time to get faster, it probably won't. Because your foot doesn't care how much you miss running and other forms of exercise.
Rather, the time frame for healing is dictated by your body. And by the exact nature of your injury. Let's take a closer look.
Healing a Broken Foot Bone: Location Matters
Each foot is comprised of 26 bones. And that means that there are a lot of bones you can break. But not all your bones are the same. Instead, the bones in your foot form a combination of long bones and others that are more irregular. This means that some foot fractures may take longer to heal than others.
Unfortunately, other factors can also extend your healing time for a broken foot bone. And that has to do with your anatomy. You see, the foot also is at the literal end of your circulatory system. That means the smallest vessels in your body are the ones providing the bones' blood supply.
But why does that matter? Oxygen-rich blood plays a critical role in the healing process after a foot fracture. Without enough blood flow, healing takes longer. (That's one of the reasons why it's notoriously tough to come back from a Jones fracture.) As such, foot bones with good blood supply will heal faster than ones without. And that's not the last factor that can impact your recovery time.
Type of Foot Fracture: Stress, Stable or Displaced
Have you ever wondered why some broken bones get better with a cast? But others need surgery? A lot of that has to do with the stability of a broken bone. Or with how cleanly the break happens.
You see, that six-to-eight week healing time usually refers to a stable fracture. That's one in which the broken bone ends remain in alignment, without shifting too much. This kind of foot fracture shouldn't need surgery. In fact, with a stable break in your foot bone, you should heal in the typical time frame. And you may even be able to walk around. (While wearing a special walking boot, of course.)
But what about a displaced fracture? With this kind of injury, the broken bone ends have shifted far enough that they no longer line up with each other. In order to heal properly, you'll need surgery to realign your bones. And, after surgery, you may need a bit longer to heal your broken foot bone.
Now, that's the bad news. But there is a light in this dark tunnel. And it has to do with stress fractures. Remember, a stress fracture describes a crack in your bone. It means that the injury hasn't completely broken the bone into two pieces. Now, it still takes about six to eight weeks to heal a stress fracture of the foot or ankle. But if you carefully follow Dr. Schneider's advice and properly care for the fractured foot? You can avoid a complete fracture. And you should be able to heal in that typical time frame.
When Can I Resume Normal Activities after a Broken Foot?
Even after a broken foot bone heals, you may have residual pain. And you might not feel like getting back to your normal routine. But once you are pain-free, we'll work together to gradually return you to your formal activity level. All without compromising your recovery.
At the beginning of this time period, you're going to want to ease back into workouts. That could mean training for half as long as you used to. Or alternating active days with rest days. (That may feel painful. But rest days are actually critical if you want to prevent overuse injuries. And, when recovering from a broken foot bone, it also allows your healing injury to adjust to new levels of pressure.)
Depending on how well you adjust to your initial workouts, we can build you up from there. Over time, you'll increase the duration, frequency and intensity of your workouts. And, before you know it, you'll be back to where you were before that broken foot bone!
Foot Fracture Care in Houston, TX
Our office is here to help you recover after a broken foot bone. But you're the person who can most influence the amount of time it takes to heal your injury. Why is that the case?
You have the best chance for your foot to heal properly, and quickly, if you get it evaluated and cared for right away. Trying to walk off an injury, or waiting to see if it "heals on its own" can lead to complications, such as requiring surgery to treat the broken foot bone. Even if that doesn't happen, delaying x-rays and treatment can certainly extend your healing time.
So, what should you do if your foot hurts, and there's even a small chance that you've broken a bone? Contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists and schedule an immediate appointment. We will make sure your that broken foot will heal as quickly and completely as possible. And, while we can't promise that the recovery period will end sooner than six weeks, we can say we'll stop all avoidable recovery delays. And we'll get you back to being active again! Just as soon as your body is ready.
Many people who read this wondered What Doctor Treats a Broken Foot?