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Strengthening Your Bones

To avoid fractures, it’s important to understand them. Ankle and foot fracture usually stems from accidents and thus aren’t wholly within your control, but taking care of your body can greatly strengthen your bones, reduce the likelihood of trauma, and ensure better recovery if an accident does occur. Exercise, nutrition, and proper technique and equipment during physical activities will significantly reduce your risk.

Patient Being Bandaged After Foot Fracture In Newport Beach.
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How Foot and Ankle Fractures Occur

Nearly any form of trauma or stress can lead to a fracture — and for those with certain medical conditions, even minor impacts can lead to serious fractures.

  • Stress: Prolonged stress beyond what your body can handle often leads to stress fractures, especially in the load-bearing bones of your feet and legs.
  • Overuse: Overuse can also lead to more significant fractures, especially with an underlying abnormality or a final intense trauma. 
  • Falls and other sudden trauma: These can lead to a variety of break types, depending on how much force is exerted, how strong or fragile your bones are, the angle of the force, etc. 

Types of Fractures

While all fractures involve a break in the bone, the properties of fractures can vary significantly. This has led to specific names for the different types of breaks. Some of them overlap, as they describe different aspects of the break:

  • Comminuted fracture: A fracture that breaks the bone in multiple places, resulting in three or more pieces.
  • Oblique fracture: A fracture at an angle across the bone.
  • Transverse fracture: A horizontal fracture perpendicular to the length of the bone.
  • Stress fracture: Also known as a “hairline fracture”, this is a very thin crack usually resulting from overuse.
  • Spiral fracture: A type of fracture resulting from twisting force on the bone.
  • Stable fracture: A clean break where the broken ends of the bone are more or less still lined up and in place.
  • Open and closed fractures: Describes whether the bone broke the skin (open) or not. Open fractures are also sometimes known as “compound fractures” and offer an increased risk of dangerous infection.
  • Pathologic fracture: A fracture resulting from disease. This overlaps with a physical fracture type.

There are also certain breaks that are more or less exclusive to children, due to the unique properties of growing bones:

  • Buckle fracture: A fracture resulting from a bone compressing when driven together with another bone.
  • Greenstick fracture: A fracture in which the bone bends and only partially breaks along the edge, like a broken stick of green wood.
  • Growth plate fracture: A fracture at the joint which can lead to a shortened bone.
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Understanding and Minimizing Your Risk

While it’s impossible to eliminate all risk of ankle or foot fractures in Newport Beach, it’s important to understand what risk you’re at, as well as what activities and health decisions increase or decrease that risk.

  • Sports: Many sports have associated risks of one or more fractures. Repetitive motions increase the risk of stress foot or ankle fracture, and high impact and hard falls increase the risk of more serious fractures. Proper padding, technique, and rest are crucial in avoiding unnecessary breaks for the athletic.
  • Occupational hazards: Certain occupations offer a significantly increased risk of fractures, such as jobs involving heights, heavy machinery, and repetitive movements. As with sports, proper precautions for regular risks can greatly reduce your chance of an ankle or foot fracture.
  • Inactivity: Inactivity over time leads to reduced bone density, especially in older people. This makes it easier to break a bone with less force.
  • Increased activity: While exercise is good, a sudden increase in the intensity of activity can greatly increase your risk of fractures — especially stress fractures.
  • Sex: Women are much more likely to experience a fracture given the same level of trauma, especially as they age, due to lower bone density and a higher risk of osteoporosis.
  • Chronic medical conditions: Any number of chronic medical conditions which directly or indirectly affect bone density will, in turn, increase your likelihood of breaking a bone.

Additional Risks

Certain Medications

Cortisone medications and some others can weaken bones and cause tearing, while other medications can make you more likely to suffer a fall or accident.

Previous Injuries

A history of stress fractures can increase your likelihood of experiencing them in the same bone, as can incomplete healing of other types of fracture.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Low vitamin D and calcium can lead to decreased bone density, making it easier to break bones.

Age

Generally speaking, your likelihood of a fracture given a particular impact or stress event increases with age. Beyond that, certain fracture types and particular fractures change in likelihood at different ages (such as greenstick fractures, buckle fractures, and growth plate fractures in children).

Tobacco or Alcohol Use

Tobacco and alcohol both interfere with the formation and maintenance of bone.

Bone Abnormalities

Even relatively benign abnormalities in a bone can make it easier to break, due to changes in how pressure is distributed under load.

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Foot & Ankle Specialty Group: Fracture Treatment in Rancho Santa Margarita and Newport Beach

If you’re seeking foot fracture treatment or ankle fracture treatment in Newport Beach or Rancho Santa Margarita, you’ve come to the perfect place. Our team at Foot & Ankle Specialty Group specializes in foot and ankle injuries of all kinds, for families and individuals, as well as athletes of all ages.

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Our medical director, American Board of Podiatric Surgery Fellow Dr. Salma Aziz, has built her reputation on time-tested practices. She spends plenty of quality time with a patient going over all their concerns, which is unusual in today’s doctoring. Dr. Aziz is extraordinarily good at what she does, and has been a staple in her community since 2001. Our team is rounded out by surgeons Dr. Petrina Yokay and Dr. Jessica Arneson, and together our mission is to get you back on your feet and feeling great.

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