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The response to the question below was authored by Marc Mitnick DPM
I dropped something on my foot and wonder if I broke it..
I dropped something on my foot 2 days ago, and the bone on the outside of my foot around the 5th metatarsal. The foot was swollen out and the entire top half of my foot is black and blue. I iced it and put an ace bandage on it and the swelling has gone away except for a knot on the bone where it was hit. It feels much better now, but it's still very bruised. If it doesn't hurt, is it safe to walk on it?
I for one would like to know if the bone is broken or not as that would make it easier to offer advice on what to do.
No matter how the foot looks or feel it is impossible to tell if the foot is broken or not without an x-ray.
One of the problems with dropping something on your foot is the possibility that you actually chipped a piece of bone off the larger metatarsal bone. If that happens to be the case then it creates other potential issues such as that piece of bone becoming a floater meaning it will always be a source of discomfort when wearing special shoes.
This is a more likely scenario than you actually breaking the bone in half because unless you dropped something very heavy on your foot it would be very difficult to break the bone in half.
The good news here is that you only injured your foot a couple of days ago so it is not too far gone in terms of getting proper care. When people have a fracture that goes untreated for weeks the fracture site may heal improperly or perhaps not heal at all and this can leave the patient with a permanent problem. In these cases surgical intervention becomes the most common option.
Now that I have given you my reasons for having any x-ray lets talk about the specifics of your case. Icing it and wrapping the foot was the right thing to do as it has helped reduced the inflammation and thus reduced the pain. You do not mention if you have actually been walking on it for the last couple of days. Staying off of it would also have been the right thing to do.
So because of your actions the foot does feel better but it still does not tell me if it is broken or not.
The only way to know if it is safe to walk on the foot or not, would be to try it. Walk a little bit and see how the foot feels. If you find that you can keep adding distance without an increase in pain then you are probably alright but as you can see, the message to take away from this post would be to go get an x-ray to make sure there is no broken bone.
Marc Mitnick DPM
Johns Hopkins Medicine
University of Rochester Medical Center
American Academy of Pediatrics
Penn State Medical Center
National Institutes of Health
Columbia University Department of Rehabilitation
Stanford Health Care
Illinois Bone and Joint Institute
Mount Sinai Hospital
Institute for Chronic Pain
University of Florida Health
American Family Physician
University of Maryland Medical Center