Symptoms and Causes of Broken ankle/broken foot

You spend every day on your feet and put them through a lot. The foot is made up of 26 delicate bones, linking together with a network of tendons and muscles that connect to your ankle joints. With this many parts to the ankles and feet, there are many places where damage can occur.

Causes of a Broken ankle or foot

Broken bones are caused by an impact or sustained pressure that is more than the bone can take. Some common causes include:

  • dropping something heavy on the foot
  • hitting your toe against a piece of furniture or door frame
  • sports injuries
  • a severe twist or sprain
  • falling from a height, especially onto a hard surface

Symptoms of a broken foot or ankle

At first it can be hard to tell the difference between a bad sprain and a broken bone. You should always visit a doctor if you suspect a break. Some symptoms include:

  • sharp pain centered on the break or radiating through the foot
  • swelling
  • deep bruising
  • a grinding sound or sensation when you move the foot
  • physical deformation, especially for broken toes
  • inability to walk on the foot

For this last point, keep in mind that broken toes may be less painful and you may be able to walk on them.

How are broken ankles and feet treated?

Your doctor will probably order an x-ray to determine exactly what happened and where the break is. For a broken ankle, a splint may be used. If it’s a severe break, you may need reconstructive surgery. In the case of broken bones in the foot, you may be given a cast, walking boot, or wheelchair to help you keep pressure off the area as it heals. For broken toes, the doctor will most likely splint one to an adjacent toe.

Treatment of a Broken Finger 

A broken finger, though it might sound innocuous, can be a very painful, life-altering injury. By definition, a broken finger is a fracture or break of any one of the three bones that make up the finger.

Broken Fingers Are Common Injuries

A broken finger is a common injury, but one that merits a visit to the doctor. This is because when these breaks aren’t properly treated, they can heal out of alignment. This, in turn, can cause future pain and will look odd as well.

How Broken Fingers Occur

A finger injury can happen in a variety of ways. One of the most common is when the finger is crushed between two objects. A finger being struck by a ball or other fast moving item is another common cause.

Symptoms of a Broken Finger

The most common symptom of a broken finger is pain immediately after trauma. Sometimes, patients will notice a slight or significant deformation in their finger as well. A broken finger might still have some range of motion, which is a common misconception. Swelling and bruising often occur 5-10 minutes after the injury takes place. Numbness can also occur due to nerves being cut off as a result of swelling.

Treatment of a Broken Finger

The first step after a finger injury is determining the extent of said injury. To determine if the finger is displaced, fractured or broken, the finger must be X-rayed. Most broken fingers are simple fractures, that don’t include a displacement of bone. The treatment for this type of injury is a splint that will keep the finger immobilized while it heals, a process which typically takes between three and four weeks. Finger buddy taping might also be implemented.

When a broken fragment of bone is displaced, this is considered a more complicated fracture or break. This might also include a break in the bone in more than one location. In this instance, surgery is often the only treatment to ensure the finger heals properly. This type of surgery includes a surgeon pinning the two bone fragments together so they can heal properly.

Having a broken finger treated by a specialist is the best way to ensure it heals properly and doesn’t cause additional issues down the road. Make an appointment today to learn how we can help you.

How to prepare for ankle surgery

There are several steps to take in order to prepare yourself for ankle surgery. And taking them will make surgery and post-op recovery much smoother. Be sure to talk with your physician about any medicines you’re taking, including over-the-counter meds. Some meds like aspirin should be discontinued, as it thins the blood and may cause more bleeding during surgery. Tell your physician about any allergies you may have, including latex. If you have an infection prior to surgery, such as a bladder infection or a sore throat, call your physician and advise them. It’s possible the surgery may need to be rescheduled until the infection is gone. If you smoke, stop. Your body needs oxygen during surgery, and tobacco products decrease the amount of oxygen to your tissues.

Things to keep in mind before the surgery

Be sure to eat healthy prior to surgery. If you’ve had any problems with constipation, let your physician know. Prior to surgery, tests will be ordered to ensure your readiness for surgery. Likely, you’ll have to have some blood tests and an ECG. These procedures may be done in your physician’s office or in the pre-admission unit at the hospital. Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight the night prior to your surgery, as this will increase the chances of vomiting and nausea both during and after the surgical procedure.

What to consider after ankle surgery

Likely, you’ll need some assistive devices after surgery. If you’ve obtained crutches or a walker before surgery, be sure to label them with your name and bring them with you to the hospital. Plus, you’ll need to make arrangements for someone to take you home from the hospital. You won’t be allowed to drive home on your own after the surgery.

If you’re wondering how to prepare for ankle surgery, it’s not rocket science. Take these simple steps, and you’ll be good to go.

Arthroscopic Surgery in Hazlet NJ

Joint problems are common simply due to the amount of pressure we put on our bodies. Our joints are constantly flexing and bending as we go about our daily life which can cause major wear and tear to our bodies over time. Arthroscopic surgery uses a camera to look at the damage to your joints to determine what (if anything) needs to be done. An arthroscope can technically be used anywhere in the body but is generally needed for the knees, ankles, wrists, hips, and shoulders.

The Basics of Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is used to either diagnose or help treat general inflammation or trauma. It’s generally an outpatient procedure, but you will be given some type of anesthetic. Depending on the severity of the injury and the location of the damaged joint, it may be either general or local anesthesia. The doctor will make a tiny cut in your skin before inserting an instrument into your body (about the size of a standard pencil.) The doctor will fill the joint with fluid to make it easier to fit the tiny camera inside.

Next Steps

The arthroscope is used to let the doctor look inside the joint to see if you need arthroscopic surgery. Should you need the surgery, your doctor will need to manipulate your bones to fix the joints. This can be done without making large incisions, but rather using precise instruments to shave or cut the bone. You may not even need stitches! If for any reason you do need traditional surgery, this can be done in the same procedure as the arthroscopic surgery. Dr. Allegra at Allegra Orthopedics serves the people of Hazlet, NJ and understands the ins and outs of joints. He’s here to help you increase your flexibility and range of motion while simultaneously decreasing any discomfort!

Know Your Knee Pain

The knee is a complicated joint. It enables us to bend and straighten our legs so we can sit, squat, jump and run.

Our knees carry us through life and are exposed to injury as well as normal “wear and tear” throughout our lifetimes, from the scrapes and bruises of childhood to arthritis pain and other degenerative conditions common in older age.

The knee joint has three parts. The thighbone (femur) meets the large shin bone (tibia) to form the main knee joint. This joint has an inner (medial) and an outer (lateral) compartment. The kneecap (patella) joins the femur to form a third joint, called the patellofemoral joint. The ends of the femur and tibia, and the back of the patella, are cushioned with cartilage, helping ligaments slide easily over the bones and protecting the bones from impact.

Knee pain is one of the most common complaints heard by orthopedic physicians. When one or more parts of the knee are injured, you may feel different types of knee pain.

Self-Care for Knee Pain

Knee pain that occurs from a relatively minor injury can often be safely observed for a day or two to see if self-care measures will be helpful. Self-care options include:

  • Rest Avoid more strenuous or painful activities, but keep active. Try alternate activities that cause less discomfort – swimming instead of jogging, bicycling instead of tennis
  • Ice Put ice on your knee for 15 to 20 minutes a few times each day. Use ice cubes or a bag of frozen vegetable wrapped with a towel
  • Compression Wrap an elastic bandage around your knee to help control swelling. Make the bandage fit snugly around your knee, but not tight enough to cause pain or leg swelling
  • Elevation Lying down with your knee propped up on pillows may help control pain and swelling
  • NSAIDS Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) may help relieve pain, swelling and inflammation

When to Schedule an Orthopedic Visit

Knee injuries commonly send people to the orthopedic physician. Make an appointment with an orthopedic physician if your knee pain was caused by a particularly forceful impact or if it is accompanied by:

  • Significant swelling
  • Significant pain
  • Redness
  • Tenderness and warmth around the joint
  • Fever

When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Call 911 or ask someone to drive you to the Emergency Department if your knee pain is caused by an injury and is accompanied by:

  • A joint that appears deformed
  • A popping noise at the time your knee was injured
  • Inability to bear weight
  • Intense pain
  • Sudden swelling

Top Ten Common Knee Injuries

Treatment will vary based on the cause of your knee pain and the specifics of the injury. Treatment may involve managing pain and inflammation, and rest. Trauma-induced injuries, such as fractures, dislocations and tears, may require bracing, popping the knee back into place, or surgery, which in many cases today, is minimally invasive so patients heal quickly and return to normal activities. Physical therapy may be needed to help regain movement and strength in the knee and leg.

Below are ten of the most common injuries of the knee:

  • Fractures
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries
  • Dislocations
  • Meniscal tears
  • Bursitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Tendon tears
  • Collateral ligament injuries
  • Iliotibial band syndrome
  • Posterior cruciate ligament injuries

Arthritis of the Knee

Osteoarthritis of the knee is the most common form of arthritis in the knee. It is a degenerative “wear and tear” type of arthritis that occurs most often in people age 50 and older, but may occur in younger people, too. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage of the knee joint gradually wears away.

Long-term knee pain from arthritis can often be helped by weight loss and exercises to strengthen the muscles around the joint.

Seek medical attention immediately for serious knee injuries. Early diagnosis and treatment for chronic, or long term, knee pain or arthritis can make a world of difference in your quality of life.  Know your knees and recognize when it’s time to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic physician.

Avoiding Springtime Injuries

With days lasting longer, temperatures rising, and grass, flowers and trees becoming green, everyone agrees that spring has sprung. It’s natural to feel that those of us along the beautiful Jersey Shore can’t wait to get back on the playing field, the golf course, tennis court, track…or whatever sports venue calls out to you.

But, before you leap into action, remember that is has been a long, long winter and many of us are not in tip-top shape. Before you incur an injury that benches you for the rest of the season, review the list of common springtime sports injuries and what you can do to prevent them.

Rotator cuff (Tennis)

Hitting a tennis ball often puts stress on the joints, tendons and muscles of the shoulder. Because tennis players continually use the same joint, there’s a chance that in time they will develop problems associated with shoulder overuse. The most common orthopedic problems stemming from tennis are the rotator cuff injuries.

To prevent rotator cuff as well as other shoulder injuries, take steps to strengthen the muscles in the shoulder junction. Now is the time to start doing strengthening and weightlifting exercises three times per week.

Tendonitis (Power Walking)

This is the time of the year when you are motivated to shed a few pounds. Walking is one of the easiest exercises to improve your overall health. Anyone can walk anywhere, and it doesn’t cost anything! While Achilles tendonitis is commonly associated with running, the condition can also occur when you skip the warm up routine or when you begin a workout program after a long period of inactivity.

To ensure the success of your workout regimen, remember to always warm up before jogging or power walking. Lunges are one of the best exercises to loosen the Achilles tendon and the calf muscles.

Lower back pain (Golf)

The repetitive bending and twisting involved in golfing can place tremendous stress on the lower back. To make sure your back won’t interfere with your golf game, begin performing exercises to strengthen your core now. Here’s a good tip: stretch your lower back – bend over until you can touch your toes with your fingers a few times – before stepping out onto the golf course.

Tennis elbow (Baseball)

Despite its misleading name, tennis elbow is actually an inflammatory condition which affects the tendon that runs up to the side of the arm next to the elbow. The condition is specific to sports that require athletes to swing their arms repeatedly, such as pitching a baseball pitching. Start a regimen of stretching and strengthening exercises to prevent this debilitating condition from placing you on the bench this season.

Plantar fasciitis (Running)

Overtraining, overuse, over-striding and improper footwear are the prevalent reasons why runners end up with plantar fasciitis. Given its causes, the only way to prevent the painful heel condition implies performing exercises that render the overall foot area flexible. If your running shows are worn out, get a proper fitting on a new pair at a good local running store.

Bone and Joint Problems Associated with Diabetes

November is American Diabetes Month, a time set aside to raise awareness about diabetes and its associated risk factors.

Did you know that if you are an individual living with diabetes, you are at higher risk for some bone and joint disorders?

Certain factors such as nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy), arterial disease and obesity may contribute to these conditions, but often the cause isn’t clear.

If you feel that you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk with your endocrinologist or consult a board certified orthopedic physician who will take your medical history of diabetes into account when diagnosing your condition.

Charcot Joint
Charcot (shahr-HOK) joint, also called neuropathic arthropathy, occurs when a joint deteriorates because of nerve damage – a common complication of diabetes. Charcot joint primarily affects the feet.
Symptoms include numbness and tingling or loss of sensation in the affected joints. They may become unstable, swollen or deformed. If detected early, progression of the disease can be slowed. Limited weight bearing activities and use of orthotic supports to the affected joint and surrounding structures can help.

Diabetic Hand Syndrome

Diabetic hand syndrome, also called cheiroarthropathy, is a disorder in which the skin on the hands becomes waxy and thickened. Eventually finger movement is limited. What causes diabetic hand syndrome isn’t known but it is most common in people who have had diabetes for a long time.
Over time, individuals with diabetic hand syndrome become unable to fully extend their fingers or press their palms together flat. Better management of blood glucose levels and physical therapy can slow the progress of this condition.

Osteoporosis is a disorder that causes bones to become weak and prone to fracture. People who have type 1 diabetes have an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis rarely causes symptoms in the early stages. Eventually, when the disease is more advanced, individuals can experience loss of height, stopped posture or bone fractures. A healthy lifestyle, including weight bearing exercise such as walking, and eating a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D – including supplements if needed – are the best ways to address this condition.

Osteoarthritis is a joint disorder characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage. It may affect any joint in the body. People who have type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of osteoarthritis, likely due to obesity – a risk factor for type 2 diabetes – rather than to the diabetes itself.
Osteoarthritis may cause joint pain, swelling and stiffness as well as loss of joint flexibility or movement. Treatment involves exercising and maintaining a healthy weight, caring for and resting the affected joint, pain medication and, in some cases, surgery. Complimentary treatment such as acupuncture and massage can be helpful.

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH), also called Forestier disease, is a hardening of tendons and ligaments that commonly affects the spine. DISH may be associated with type 2 diabetes, perhaps due to insulin or insulin-like growth factors that promote new bone growth.
Affected individuals may experience pain, stiffness or decreased range of motion in any affected part of the body. Treatment involves managing symptoms, usually with pain medication, and in rare cases may require surgery to remove bone that has grown due to the condition.

Dupuytren Contracture
Dupuytren contracture is a deformity in which one or more fingers are bent toward the palm. It’s caused by thickening and scarring of connective tissue in the palm of the hand and in the fingers. This condition is common in people who have had diabetes for a long time.
People affected by dupuytren contracture may notice thickening of the skin on the palm of their hand. Eventually, they may not be able to fully straighten one or more fingers. Steroid injections may help reduce inflammation. Surgery, injections and a minimally invasive procedure called aponeurotomy to break apart the thick tissue are other options if the condition prevents the ability to grasp objects.

Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulder is a condition characterized by shoulder pain and limited range of motion. It typically affects only one shoulder. Although the cause is unknown, diabetes is a common risk factor.
Frozen shoulder causes pain or tenderness with shoulder movement, stiffness of the joint and decreased range of motion. If started early, aggressive physical therapy can help preserve movement and range of motion in the joint.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a constriction of the hand’s central nerve by a ligament that runs across the palm. Diabetes may account for between 5 and 16 percent of all cases of carpal tunnel syndrome. The link between diabetes and carpal tunnel syndrome may be that the ligament becomes thickened in response to collagen glycation so that it presses on the nerve. Another possibility is that diabetic neuropathy – nerve disease – damages the nerves in the hand, making them more susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Strengthening and stretching exercises under the direction of a physical therapist may be helpful. Steroids and a wrist splint can be an interim measure, and surgery may be needed eventually.

Don’t Delay Treatment for Winter Ankle Injuries

Icy, snowy conditions can pose serious health and safety threats.

Over the winter months, we see a definite increase in fractures (breaks in the bones), sprains and other orthopedic injuries, resulting from slips and falls, and even from skidding accidents involving motor vehicles.

Broken ankles are one of the most common fracture types and can be caused by slipping and twisting the ankle while trying to navigate slippery surfaces.

If you fall on the ice and hurt your ankle this winter, don’t put off waiting to see a doctor. The ability to walk or hobble on your injured ankle doesn’t necessarily mean that your ankle isn’t broken or badly sprained. It’s best to have an injured ankle evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible. Only an x-ray and thorough examination by an orthopedic surgeon can determine the extent of your injury.

Putting weight on an injured ankle joint can worsen the problem and may lead to chronic instability, joint pain and even arthritis later in life. If you can’t see an orthopedic surgeon or visit an emergency room right away, follow the R.I.C.E. method – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation – until medical care is available.

The ankle joint is especially vulnerable to serious injury from hard falls on ice. Ice accelerates the fall and often causes more severe trauma, because the foot can go in any direction after it slips as well as bearing the weight of your body as you fall.

Falling on winter ice can cause simultaneous ankle sprains and fractures. It is possible to both fracture and sprain an ankle from a fall, and a bad sprain can mask the fracture.

Most ankle fractures and some sprains are treated by immobilizing the joint in a cast or splint.  Surgery may be needed to repair fractures with significant misalignments. New surgical plates and screws enable orthopedic surgeons to repair these injuries more quickly and with less surgical trauma.

Newer bone-fixation methods require smaller incisions, minimizing tissue damage and bleeding, reducing the risk of infection, and accelerating the healing process.

Summer Injuries and What You Can Do

There’s nothing wrong in playing your hardest, but it’s just as important to play smart as it is to play hard.

The first step in playing smart is to learn about injury prevention and know what to avoid. Most athletic injuries are not the result of accidents but are due to poor preparation for sports activity, overuse of joints or muscles, and missing the early warning signs of injury. Tendon injuries, cramps, shoulder injuries, muscle tears, and back pain are some of the most common summer sports injuries.


Although many athletes give it their all on the field, any increase in activity has the potential to cause damage to a body that isn’t prepared for it. In the winter, many of us tend to be less active. This leads to many people having a strong urge to get outside and be physically active once it warms up.

While any doctor would encourage exercise, your body might not be ready for this sudden change in activity. Without preparation, anyone can be susceptible to injury.

Heading Into Summer Sports & Activities?

Keep these injury prevention tips in mind:

  • Prepare your body for sports activity with sport-specific conditioning and muscle strengthening
  • Strengthen opposing muscle groups to maintain balance of muscle strength
  • Maintain proper hydration and give your body adequate nutrition
  • At the beginning of your sport or workout, activate your body with a dynamic warm up- Begin at an easy pace to slowly increase heart rate, respiratory rate and blood flow to muscles
  • Warm up both upper and lower extremities
  • Know when to rest or stop. Many injuries occur from over-fatigued muscles
  • Use properly fitting protective gear when appropriate, like helmets and wrist and shin guards
  • Use properly fitting sports clothing and supportive sport-specific foot gear
  • Vary your fitness routine. Repetitive use of muscles and joints can cause strain and injury
  • If you feel persistent pain in your muscles or joints, stop exercising and have the pain evaluated by an orthopedic physician

Have You Already Been Injured?

Your orthopedic physician can recommend a physical therapist who will show you the proper stretches and exercises that will help your muscles heal more quickly.

Avoiding Overuse Injuries

Most overuse injuries are avoidable. To prevent an overuse injury:


  • Use proper form and gear. Whether you’re starting a new activity or you’ve been playing a sport for a long time, consider taking lessons. Using the correct technique is crucial to preventing overuse injuries. Also make sure you wear proper shoes for the activity. Consider replacing your shoes for every 300 miles you walk or run — or at least twice a year if you regularly exercise.
  • Pace yourself. If you’re starting a new fitness program, avoid becoming a weekend warrior. Compressing your physical activity for the week into two days can lead to an overuse injury. Instead, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, preferably spread throughout the week. It’s also a good idea to take time to warm up before physical activity and cool down afterward.
  • Gradually increase your activity level. When changing the intensity or duration of a physical activity, do so gradually. For example, if you want to increase the amount of weight you’re using while strength training, increase it by no more than 10 percent each week until you reach your new goal.
  • Mix up your routine. Instead of focusing on one type of exercise, build variety into your fitness program. Doing a variety of low-impact activities — such as walking, biking, swimming and water jogging — in moderation can help prevent overuse injuries by allowing your body to use different muscle groups. And be sure to do some type of strength training at least twice a week.

Recovering From An Overuse Injury

If you suspect that you have an overuse injury, consult your doctor. He or she will likely ask you to take a break from the activity that caused the injury and recommend medication for any pain and inflammation.

Be sure to tell your doctor if you’ve recently made changes in your workout technique, intensity, duration, frequency or types of exercises. Identifying the cause of your overuse injury will help you correct the problem and avoid repeating it.

When you think the overuse injury has healed, ask your doctor to check that you’ve completely regained strength, motion, flexibility and balance before beginning the activity again. When you return to your activity, pay special attention to proper technique to avoid future injuries.

Playing It Safe

Don’t allow an overuse injury to prevent you from being physically active. By working with your doctor, listening to your body and pacing yourself, you can avoid this common setback and safely increase your activity level.