Cortese Foot & Ankle Clinic

Ankle & Foot Fractures

Ankle Fractures

The ankle joint is intricate. It is comprised of two joints: the subtalar and true ankle joint.
The true ankle joint consists of 3 bones: the tibia creates the medial (inner) section of the ankle; the fibula creates the lateral (outer) section of the ankle; and the talus creates the underside. The true ankle joint controls the dorsi-flexion and plantar flexion of the foot.

The subtalar joint is beneath the true ankle joint and is comprised of the talus on top and calcaneus on the bottom. The subtalar joint controls the side-to-side motion of the foot.

Medically speaking, the ankle is the marriage of the leg and the foot; it is only the articulation of the tibia, fibula, and the talus.

A fracture is a major or small break in a bone. Fractures of the ankle vary from minor avulsion injuries (tiny sections of bone that have chipped off) to serious obliteration breaks of the fibula, tibia or both.

Ankle fractures are frequent injuries that are usually caused by the ankle turning inward or outward. A lot of patients misdiagnose an ankle fracture for an ankle sprain, but they are very different and must have a correct and quick diagnosis. They sometimes occur at the same time.
Ankle Fracture — Ankle & Foot Fractures, IL

Foot Fractures

A stress fracture is a tiny break in the bone. Stress fractures are often caused from overuse, such as from high-impact activities like marathon events, basketball and dancing.

Generally, all stress fractures happen in the weight-bearing bones of the foot. Research shows that people who regularly participate in tennis, marathon running, gymnastics, basketball, and dance are all at high risk for stress fractures. These sports create repeated stress for the foot because of the continued striking on the ground. Rest is the best and most important way to recover from a stress fracture.

What is a stress fracture?

A stress fracture is an injury caused by too much repetitive action. When muscles are overused, they are no longer able to reduce the shock of repeated pressure. When this happens, the muscles put the stress on the bones. This can create small breaks or fractures. The most popular area for stress fractures are the (2nd) second and (3rd) third metatarsals of the foot. Stress fractures are also found in the calcaneus. (Heel).

Why do stress fractures occur?

Stress fractures occur if you increase your high-impact physical activities such as:.
  • How frequently you exercise (Frequency)
  • How many hours you exercise (Duration)
  • Your level of stamina (Intensity)
Even if you do not exercise you can still have stress fractures. If diabetes or osteoporosis has stressed the bones, regular physical activities may result in a stress fracture. This is known as bone insufficiency.

Doing too much too soon is the most popular cause of stress fractures. Take for example, marathon distance runners who are stuck inside for the winter season and may want to start up where they left off at the end of the previous season. Instead of adjusting their routine, they try to match their previous distance. Because of the reduced conditioning, muscles become overtired faster. The end prognosis could be a stress fracture in the foot. Those who are just starting an exercise program may try to do too much too soon and are also at risk.

Improper shoes that are old and worn or stiff, can significantly lead to stress fractures.Changing the surface you usually use, for instance going from a grass tennis court to a clay tennis court, or change from an outdoor to an indoor track, may also increase your risk.

Podiatrist Examination

When you come in for your initial visit your Podiatrist will ask you some general questions about your everyday life such as work, activities, exercise and any prescription drugs you are on. It is important that your doctor knows your complete history and what your risk factors for stress fractures are. It is also important to tell the Podiatrist of any other ailments that may be bothering you at the time.

After talking about your conditions and medical history, your podiatrist will physically examine your foot and ankle.


Imaging tests will help your podiatrist verify your diagnosis.

Stress fractures are almost impossible to see on X-rays until they begin healing. Your podiatrist may suggest a bone scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, which are more detailed than an X-ray and can show stress fractures from early on.

What you should do for a stress fracture before seeing the podiatrist:

Stop your activity and rest. Do not ignore the pain as the pain can have repercussions. The bone may completely shatter.
Ice and elevate your foot above your heart. Do not put pressure on your foot until after you see a podiatrist.

Good ways to prevent stress fractures:

  • Eat healthy. Add calcium and vitamin D-rich foods to your diet
  • Wear the proper running shoes with good arch and heel supports
  • Vary your routine
  • Start your activity slowly. Eventually up your time, speed, and distance
  • Visit your podiatrist right away if your pain returns