Broken Foot Treatment Self-Care at Home
First aid for people with foot injuries is stabilization and elevation of the injured foot.
- Any splint that keeps the injured foot from moving is effective. Often a pillow wrapped around the foot like a stirrup and then taped or tied with a bandage works well.
- Do not wrap the foot so tightly that it cuts off the blood supply to the foot. Any splint that causes the foot to hurt worse, turn blue, or makes it more difficult to wiggle the toes should be removed right away.
- Elevation of the injured foot reduces swelling and pain. Proper elevation requires the foot to be at a level higher than the rest of the body. Lie flat with the foot propped up on several pillows.
- Ice wrapped in a small towel and applied to the injured foot may also reduce swelling and pain for the first several hours after an injury.
- Do not attempt to walk on an injured foot if walking is very painful.
- Injured toes usually heal well even if they are broken. They can usually be treated at home unless the toe seems to be very deformed or pointing in the wrong direction.
- Treatment involves splinting the injured toe to the good toe next to it. This is called "buddy taping."
- Place some padding (usually cotton balls) between the injured and good toe and tape them securely with a wide medical tape. They should be secure enough to provide support but not so tight as to cut off blood supply to the toes.
- A shoe with a fairly rigid sole like a wooden sandal, a clog, or a rigid flat-bottom shoe from a medical supply store is also helpful.
Treatment for a broken bone in the foot depends on which bone is broken and how it is broken. Some broken bones in the foot can be treated with crutches and flat-bottom shoes, others require splints or casts, and still others require surgery to repair the bones.
- Crutches are used to help you walk when you have a hurt foot.
- When walking using crutches it is important that they fit right and that you use them correctly. Your doctor should adjust your crutches to fit you and show you how to use them.
- When using crutches, it is important to put your weight on your arms and hands. Do not put your weight on your underarms (armpits). This could hurt the nerves that are in your underarms.
- To avoid falling, use your crutches only on firm ground.
- Your doctor will tell you whether or not you should bear any weight on your injured foot.
- To use crutches in a "non-weight bearing" way, you should keep the knee of your injured leg bent whenever you walk, to keep the injured foot from ever touching the ground. Do not let it touch even to help with balance.
- To use crutches for "partial weight bearing" or "weight bearing as tolerated," you can let your injured foot touch the ground only when the crutches are also touching the ground, so that some of your weight is on your foot and some is on the crutches. Always let your injured leg swing with the crutches. If it hurts when you walk, put more weight on the crutches and less on your injured foot.