What to Do in Case of Foot Injuries


One thing all injuries have in common—you’re never expecting them. At NY Foot Health, we know that a prompt and appropriate response to a foot or ankle injury can have a big impact on healing time. Sprains and fractures are the most common injuries to the feet and ankles. If you sustain an injury, here’s what you should know.

First Response

In some cases, it’s clear what your response should be. If you have an open fracture or other acute injury calling 911 and heading to the nearest emergency room will be the obvious choice. In other instances, however, seeking immediate treatment may not seem as urgent.

Some symptoms that commonly occur when there is a sprain or fracture in the foot include:

  • Pain—intense or dull; can be intermittent

  • Swelling

  • Bruising

  • Difficulty standing or walking on the affected foot

It’s important to take a cautious approach and treat your foot or ankle as if it is seriously injured in order to avoid increasing the damage. An easy way to remember the treatment for an injury is to think of RICE.

R—Rest. Stay off the injured ankle or foot until it can be properly evaluated by a podiatrist. Being able to walk on an injured foot is NOT a sign that it is okay.

I—Ice. Apply ice to the injured part of your foot or ankle as soon as possible. Reapply for 15-20 minutes at a time every three to four hours. This should decrease swelling and inflammation.

C—Compression. Wrap the affected area with an elastic bandage. The bandage should be snug—to help control swelling—but not tight so as to cut off circulation. If you see swelling developing above or below the bandage, it’s wrapped too tight.

E—Elevation. Prop your foot up on pillows, ideally at a level that’s higher than your heart. This will also help decrease swelling.

If symptoms continue to get worse, it’s definitely time to see a podiatrist. Be aware, however, that foot injuries can be tricky. Just because you can bear weight on the injured foot does not necessarily mean that it is not fractured or that it is healing. It’s best to play it safe and have your podiatrist examine you after an injury. If you’ve hurt your foot or ankle and don’t have a podiatrist, check our online directory to locate a highly qualified foot doctor in your area. The foot doctor will use x-rays and other diagnostic tests to determine the type and extent of your injury and the appropriate treatment.

To learn more about injuries and other foot issues, contact us and subscribe to our free e-newsletter.