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Kemta

Broken foot

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I was recently canyoneering in southern Utah. I was coming down a 150 ft drop and a couple things went wrong and long story short I free fell about 30 feet then hit a wall with my left foot, didn't have a good grip, hit another wall on my right and then slid down the mountain on my forearms until I caught grip on the rope. I know, I'm very lucky.

When I caught grip I had the most intense pain in my left foot ever - thought I was going to throw up. I know I was in a bit of shock too and I was able to repel down without using that left foot for the next 15 feet. Got down and could not at all put pressure on that foot. It was really painful. We were kinda stuck at that point so I had to finish up the next 6 repels through the canyon. Was able to not use my left foot and I was lucky some of the crew was able to help carry me out. I just could not at all put pressure on my foot.

We got in the car to drive home, got my shoe off (which also felt like I was going to throw up) and elevated and iced it. Got home, and it had swollen up pretty bad but no discoloration but the pain is now going up into my knee and hips. The swelling and center of the pain is on the top of my foot and around the arch. I still can't bear weight on it but I can hop around.

Went to the local urgent care (unfortunately they do have some pretty bad ratings on google), they did take 2 X-rays and said it wasn't "obviously broken" and they were "very surprised" considering what it looked like and the backstory. And everyone with us told me they felt like it was broken. Urgent care felt like it was a very bad sprain. Told me it'd take a couple weeks to fully heel. I'm a very athletic person so I got a good "don't be a stupid athlete and not take this seriously" lecture. Which I understand completely.

My question is, should I get a second opinion? I feel really really stupid because I was in a lot of pain and typically, I have a pretty high pain tolerance. I've never broken anything before. I've had a light sprain and a fracture before and this was far worse than those.

Anyone else have similar experiences or advice?

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our urgent care center always says to follow up with an orthopedic or podiatrist for possible breaks

 

Hope you get some comfort.

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Yes, definitely get a second opinion.

 

Our ds fell and hurt his ankle/lower leg and was misdiagnosed with "just a sprain" by the ER doctor. A few days later, ds was still in severe pain so we took him to an orthopedic doctor. The doctor took one look at the x-rays from the ER and said that ds had two broken bones, his tibia and fibula, and that he should have been wearing a boot instead of the flimsy little splint the ER doctor had provided.

 

After that experience, we will skip the ER and go straight to an orthopedic doctor for any future injuries.  

 

 

Edited by Selkie
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Another vote to go to orthopedic ASAP-- if you call Monday morning they should be able to get you in the same day or next.

 

I had a traumatic foot injury that left me in a non-weight bearing cast for almost 1 year-- with NO broken bones.  I think bone injuries heal faster!!

 

Torn ligaments or tendons can be just as serious (or more so) than a broken bone.

 

Please get it checked by a specialist!

 

 

 

 

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I'd call an orthopedic on Monday too. OTOH, they may need to wait a bit to see everything clearly. I broke my hand in the Grand Canyon and the orthopedic place in Flagstaff told me that they wouldn't be able to tell how serious the break was for about a week. The orthopedic at home told me the same thing. That might have just been a really weird injury but be prepared that they might not be able to tell yet either.

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I'd call an orthopedic on Monday too. OTOH, they may need to wait a bit to see everything clearly. I broke my hand in the Grand Canyon and the orthopedic place in Flagstaff told me that they wouldn't be able to tell how serious the break was for about a week. The orthopedic at home told me the same thing. That might have just been a really weird injury but be prepared that they might not be able to tell yet either.

 

I don't know if I have a stress fracture in my foot.  The x-ray showed nothing, but apparently you sometimes can't see anything until is starts to knit, then you can see extra growth.  I'm seeing a podiatrist on Friday to try to sort it out.

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Oh, wow, that sounds painful!  I'd be shocked if it weren't broken.  Another vote for a second opinion.  If you need to be in a cast or a serious boot for a time, I recommend that you ask for a knee scooter in addition to crutches.  The Dr can prescribe one.  It's a game-changer.  

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I would definitely see on orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible.  If broken bones in your foot don't heal correctly it could impact your ability to walk for the rest of your life.  I wouldn't be surprised if there are injuries that the urgent care place couldn't see do to swelling and inexperience.

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You need ortho. We brought my son to urgent care on a weekend--were told my son didn't have a fracture but sprain. Then we got a call that they sent the x-ray to a radiologist, who said it was broken. Ortho found three breaks. I was later told that many doctors will refuse to read feet and hand/wrist x-rays--there are so many tiny bones. Also, these breaks don't always show up at first on x-ray. You need a 2nd opinion. My son was in a boot for quite a while. 

Edited by sbgrace

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Another vote for ortho!  I had a Jones fracture last year and opted for surgery, then had physical therapy afterwards to restore my gait to normal.

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Oh, my.  Your experience is what my nightmares are made of (climbing up doesn't scare me but rappelling terrifies me.)  Yes!  Get a 2nd opinion. Was the film read by a radiologist?  Sometimes the doc there will do a cursory read, but they aren't orthopedists.   Even if there isn't a fracture, you could have some serious soft-tissue damage (ligaments, tendons.)  When I ruptured my Posterior Tibial Tendon 20 months ago, it felt like my ankle exploded.  I was sure it was broken.  The x-ray showed no fracture, just a small floating body in the joint (sheared off a piece of cartilage that was already compromised.)  The MRI showed the seriousness of the injury. 

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Oh, wow, that sounds painful!  I'd be shocked if it weren't broken.  Another vote for a second opinion.  If you need to be in a cast or a serious boot for a time, I recommend that you ask for a knee scooter in addition to crutches.  The Dr can prescribe one.  It's a game-changer.  

Yes.  This.  If you lived near me, I have a knee scooter gathering dust.  I'm afraid to sell it ... it's like I'm afraid that, once it's gone, I'll be ready for another life-altering injury.

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My dd had two different times a fracture not noticed by either pediatricians or at ER which were later diagnosed by orthopedists.  Go  to orthopedist- what they do is use the xrays at a greater magnification and at the same time exam where it hurts.  Then they can actually find fractures.  Urgent cares, ERs, etc, just glance at XRAYs and that is not enough.  Also breaks are not very visible often the first day.

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Ditto on finding an orthopedist....and if you don't have obvious stuff showing on X-ray, sometimes a MRI can find stuff. I broke my calcaneus a few years ago (with bone fragments) that wasn't picked up on X-ray but was visible on MRI. I was thankfully able to avoid surgery, but the idiot ER dr who told me that I was fine, and could walk on it, should have to spend a few Saturdays attending lectures on x-rays, referring to orthopedists, and avulsion fractures.

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I agree with going to an Ortho doctor.  When I broke my foot, it didn't show up on x-ray.  I had to have an MRI.  The break started to show up on x-ray after the bone started.  If it is broken, you might need to be put in a walking boot to give the break time to heal.  Mine was very painful, but I have heard others didn't have much pain.  Hope you get better soon!

 

 

Suzanne

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Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your advice! I did end up seeing two orthopedic docs today (one was just interested and hopped in the room to help haha). Did a bunch of extra X-rays. Turns out I have a Lisfranc Injury (X-ray showed a gap where that ligament should be and they're fairly certain I completely compromised it) and multiple fractures in my foot (the base of my poor toes has just swollen like crazy) as well as a sprained ankle and knee (didn't notice that one...). They were shocked as my foot was very "angry" swelling wise - want me putting absolutely no pressure at all on my foot. Going in for an MRI to determine if I need to put screws in my foot. Totally true - urgent care, regardless if they have X-rays or not, are just not equipped to se those things. Thanks again! Here's to no surgery and a speedy recovery!

Edited by Kemta
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Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your advice! I did end up seeing two orthopedic docs today (one was just interested and hopped in the room to help haha). Did a bunch of extra X-rays. Turns out I have a Lisfranc Injury (X-ray showed a gap where that ligament should be and they're fairly certain I completely compromised it) and multiple fractures in my foot (the base of my poor toes has just swollen like crazy) as well as a sprained ankle and knee (didn't notice that one...). They were shocked as my foot was very "angry" swelling wise - want me putting absolutely no pressure at all on my foot. Going in for an MRI to determine if I need to put screws in my foot. Totally true - urgent care, regardless if they have X-rays or not, are just not equipped to se those things. Thanks again! Here's to no surgery and a speedy recovery!

 

Oh, ouch! I hope you can avoid surgery and are feeling better soon!  :grouphug:

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What a frightening experience! :grouphug:

 

Ouch, sorry for all the fractures. :grouphug:

 

You got good care from your orthopedists; Lisfranc fractures are sometimes missed or misdiagnosed-ask me how I know this.

 

 

Best wishes for fast healing!

Edited by trulycrabby

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