The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

The Healing Process of a Fracture: Why Does My Foot or Ankle Fracture Hurt A Year Later?

Posted by on Monday, November 16th, 2015


Last Christmas Eve, I stepped on my German Shepherd’s Nylabone while walking down the stairs with a load of laundry. It had been sneakily placed right up against the step and caused my foot to roll outward as I stumbled. It didn’t take me long after hearing the tell-tale crunch, observing the bruise, and feeling the warm rush to know that I had cracked my fifth metatarsal.

What’s a person to do in that situation? An x-ray and expert diagnosis is always a good step. From there, it’s basically up to the individual to run through the regular course of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. The first two weeks of off-loading, getting around the house with a walker, and caring for a baby with a bum foot was worse than the pain itself. About three months later, I shed my compression garment and was able to resume brief stroller walks again. If I did too much, my body let me know and I backed off a bit.

It’s been almost a year since my injury, but every once in a while, that deep ache returns and I worry that something is amiss. So I asked the good doctors at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine, “What gives? What might cause a person’s fracture to experience residual pain after healing has supposedly taken place?”

foot fracture
Foot and ankle fractures are some of the most common types of fractures, and we treat both at our sports medicine facility in NYC. The healing process of a fracture depends partly on your age. Image source: Flickr CC user Ted Eytan

The Role of Physical Therapy in Foot Fracture Healing

Most residual pain is related to weakened soft tissue support structures. Physical therapy can be particularly helpful at this stage, since the body strengthens or reabsorbs bone depending on the mechanical demands placed upon it. Physical therapists at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine may use exercises, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, massage, or injection therapy to help you recover from a fracture. They can also prescribe medication that addresses acute pain, without interfering with the body’s natural healing processes. Contact NYC foot fracture specialists for more information.




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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.