After a visual examination and questioning the patient, the injury can be diagnosed with an X-ray of the foot, which will reveal the location of the fracture.
If it's a small or hairline fracture, a cast will stabilize the bone and allow it to heal itself. If it's a bad break, surgery to realign the bones may be necessary. Often, patients need to wear a cast or splint on the foot, depending on how bad the break is, and will have to use crutches for a while. If no splint is required, to reduce swelling it's important to keep the foot elevated while sitting or lying down. If possible, the foot should be kept above heart level. Ice should also be applied to the injury for 15-20 minutes each hour for the first 1-2 days. Crutches are recommended to avoid putting any weight on the injured foot until cleared by a physician. Then the athlete can slowly increase the amount of time using the foot, stopping as soon as it begins to feel painful.
Proper warmup and conditioning will help prevent some foot bone breaks. Also, proper athletic footwear with support will help prevent this type of injury.
Recovery time varies by severity of the injury and location of the break. Minor breaks may heal in 2-4 weeks. For more serious breaks, recovery could take two months.
Catchers are particularly vulnerable to foot breaks, especially while protecting the plate with a baserunner sliding into him, errant foul balls, and the like. While catching, though, players often wear a shell-like covering over their feet.