Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Could I have fractured a metatarsal?"
I dropped a large box on my foot at work. It was very painful initially and still aches every day. The pain seems to start with my middle toe and move out from there. Could I have a fractured metatarsal or fractured foot?
Metatarsal fractures are the most common traumatic foot injuries. Since I am not able to examine your foot and ask you more questions, it is difficult to assess its condition to establish a correct diagnosis. However, I can tell you the most common signs of a fractured or broken foot bone to watch for. Generally, injuries include acute and stress fractures. There is severely throbbing pain at the point of trauma that you usually find it unable to walk. Your foot is abundantly and instantly swollen and a bruise is evident within 24 hours. These are usually the symptoms of an acute (traumatic) fracture. For a stress fracture, it is often painful if you touch the fracture site (could indicate a broken bone) and swelling. Pain is in the mid/front of the foot that progresses gradually and worsens when walking or standing. That said, the only way to know if you have fractured your metatarsal for sure is to have an X-ray taken. Ignoring a fractured metatarsal can lead to future stress fractures in the foot. It sounds like you might have both acute and stress fractures. I would recommend a visit to a podiatrist or emergency department for a confirmed diagnosis with an X-ray soon. If you wait too long and it's broken, it can lead to healing in an abnormally crooked position and change the way you walk (your gait). You could also develop persistent foot pain and arthritis.