2 weeks into a broken foot

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So on the 9th of December I tripped over the welcome mat outside of my house. At the time I didn’t realize that my foot was broken, because this is the first time I’ve ever broken a bone so I just thought I pulled a muscle. There was no bruising and minimal swelling. But the pain was excruciating and it wasn’t going away so I finally went to the ER yesterday and they said I had broken my foot. They didn’t specify on which bone was broken, but from where my pain is located it is most likely my 5th metatarsal. The doctor also said it’s broken all the way across the bone  but it’s non-displaced. I was placed in a CAM boot and given some crutches to use until I have my follow up appointment on the 5th of January. The doctor said I really don’t have to walk on the crutches, and I could just use the boot if I was comfortable with it. Honestly it’s easier not using the crutches because those things are hell on earth to use. But I still have quite a bit of pain when I try to walk in the CAM boot alone. Was I supposed to be put in a cast though? I see a lot of posts about non-weight bearing and going from a cast to a CAM boot. So I’m a little confused. I’m supposed to see a orthopedic doctor in a week but I can’t afford the visit so I have to wait 2 weeks to see a doctor at a income-based clinic. The ER doctor wasn’t specific about any weight bearing requirements or what I should be doing about my injury so I’m completely lost as to what to do since I’ve never been through this. Any advice?? 

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  • Posted

    If your analysis of your injury is correct (I also analyzed mine before my follow-up at the fracture clinic a week later and was correct with my guess), this doesn't sound unreasonable. Since you are on your own until you can get into the income-based clinic I'd suggest looking up your injury at the Virtual Fracture Clinic website. I found what I think is the right page for your injury, but if I put the link here my response will be moderated. I'll break it down here so you can put it back together an take a look yourself. I replaced the dots with blanks in the first line and took out the slashes and put each one on a separate line (hopefully that makes sense):

    www fracturecare co uk

    care-plans

    foot

    metatarsal-fracture-to-foot

    generic-foot-fracture-3-weeks-boot-with-fu

    This is what it says there about walking with this injury:

    "Walking: You may walk on the foot as comfort allows but you may find it easier to walk on your heel in the early stages. The boot you have been given is for your comfort only and is not needed to aid fracture healing but will help to settle your symptoms. You may walk on the foot as comfort allows but you may find it easier to walk on your heel in the early stages."

    Further on it says this for 1-3 weeks following the injury: "If supplied, wear the boot for comfort and use crutches when walking."

    For 3-6 weeks it says this: "Try to stop using the boot and to walk without crutches.  Start around your house first, then try outside. You may want to wear the boot if you go on a longer walk."

    It also shows you range of motion exercises you can do and there is a video you can watch (definitely do those, as it can't hurt, only help).

    I found that the recommendations of this virtual fracture clinic were more aggressive than my own doctor's. I went to my doctor at 4 weeks with the information I had gleaned from my research and was able to get permission to be WBAT (weight bearing as tolerated in the boot) at 4 weeks post injury (originally I was told 6 weeks).

    The idea of WBAT is that if there is a lot of pain then it isn't being tolerated and you should ease off. Use the crutches to control how much weight you are putting onto your foot or perhaps borrow a walker (I preferred a walker when I was getting back to weight bearing... easier to use than crutches... I was able to ditch it quite quickly but it helped while I needed it). It sounds to me like you foot is not ready to tolerate full weight bearing... let the pain be your guide (that's what my doctor told me to do anyway).

    Hope that helps a bit smile

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    • Posted

      Thanks soo much for the reply!! That gives me a better guideline of what I need to do until I can see the doctor in 2 weeks. I actually have a walker on hand I can use, so that's an awesome tip! I didn't even think that was an option lol. 

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    • Posted

      Merry Christmas CarolynCL, remember to elevate your foot when you are sitting down!  I had the same injury years ago.  I was in a toe to knee fiberglass cast initially because I was an elite swimmer and continued to train.   I disliked the crutches but used them while I was in the fiberglass cast. At four weeks, the cast came off, and I had what was called a "bunion boot" essentially a piece of wood for the foot to rest on, a navy blue fabric which was nailed to the wood to create the boot (from the line around the heel and to the other toe line.  A shoelace was used to tie the two sides together like a hiking boot.  I continued to elevate the foot whenever I sat down.  I used to rest the foot on the back of the couch while reading or watching television.  I also ICED a lot to help keep the swelling down and to manage pain/discomfort.  At six weeks I began physical therapy.  Please remember to elevate and ICE as much as you can; you will be good as new soon!  Good luck and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!  Happy NEW Year!!

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    • Posted

      Yeah my boot goes all the way up to my knee too. It feels weird but the only issue I have is if my foot/leg itches I have to take the boot off to get to it lol so far I’ve been leaving it on 24/7 (unless I shower) and elevating my foot quite often. It hurts quite a bit still but I’m sure that’s to be expected. Thanks for the reply!! 
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    • Posted

      When you take off the cam walker boot ICE the foot!!!  Cool it off and relieve some of the pain.  Keep it elevated as much as possible.  YOU WILL MAKE IT!!  HANG TOUGH and push through!!  YOU CAN DO IT!!!
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    • Posted

      I loved my walker. I had one with wheels. I was able to turn mine into a makeshift knee walker when I was NWB by putting some extra padding on the seat. I had to hop a bit on the good foot (as the seat was higher than it would have been if it was a real knee walker), but it did the job at no extra cost. When I was practicing walking again it was great because I could take a few steps on my own and then take a little rest by grabbing the walker and letting it take a little bit of the weight off of my foot.
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  • Posted

    Greetings Carolyn,  I had a right foot 5th metatarsal break (Jones Fracture) a couple of years ago.  Like you I had never broken a bone before and went to the ER with the pain.  I was put into a short boot and scheduled to see an Orthopedist in a week.  By the time I went to Ortho I thought I was very much better.  No pain in the boot and none without the boot when I would get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.  Well, I was shocked to end up the a non-weight-bearing cast from my toes to my knee for 4 weeks.  I figured I'd break something else with crutches so I rented a knee scooter for a month.  I was also told that the short boot was no good so I traded it for a knee high boot and took it with for my 4 week FU.  Again I thought I was doing great only to find out that the "plan" was for another 4 weeks in a weight bearing cast.  UGH.  I fussed a bit and the doc said if I wore the high boot, which I brought with me, 24 hours a day, every day and used a walker to gradually transfer weight to the R foot he would see how it was in 4 weeks.  During the 4 weeks I was able to transition, in the boot, to normal walking without the walker.  I was then released and began PT.  I was a healthy, active, 68 y/o.  I hated not being able to drive!  BTW as soon as I was out of the cast I did lots of foot and ankle range of motion exercises as some one else suggested and when I went to PT strength exercises were added.  Best of luck to you it can be a depressing time so keep your friends around you.  Try not to put on 10 lbs like I did from the lack on activity and all those latte's brought by visitors.

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    • Posted

      Yup, first break ever so I ended up walking on it for the past 2 weeks until I finally went to the ER. I’ve definitely considered different types of crutches because I’m having a hell of a time adjusting to the regular ones I was given at the ER. I’m hoping by time I see a doctor in two weeks my foot will be healed up but I know it takes a little while for bones to grow so I’ll just have to be patient. I’m not sure I can afford PT so I’ll have to do some at home strengthening exercises for my foot when I’m finally cleared to do so. Thanks for the advice!! 
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