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Recovery from spiral fracture of pinky toe?

 

   


jkatsoudas

Jan 31, 11 11:30

Post #1 of 12 (13102 views)
Recovery from spiral fracture of pinky toe? Quote | Reply

Yes, another medical question for the forum:

My wife (who's not a triathlete, but is fairly active) broke her pinky toe on her left foot a week ago. X-ray showed a spiral fracture, and she's been in a walking boot since then. She went back to the podiatrist today expecting him to tell her that she could start some sort of activity sometime soon, and he looked at her as if she was from some other planet and lectured her about how she has a broken toe and that it would take 6-8 weeks to heal. (FWIW- purely by coincidence, this Podiatrist sponsors our Tri club, though I don't know if he's a triathlete himself, or whether he takes lifestyle into consideration when discussing recovery).

So, my question, for you Podiatrists out there, or anyone who's suffered a pinky toe fracture, is what's a reasonable recovery time before:

1) she can stop wearing the boot (it drives her crazy)
2) she can begin some sort of physical activity (she usually sticks to the treadmill or elliptical and strength training in the gym).
3) she can expect that it'll be pain-free to wear/walk in normal shoes.

Thanks,
John
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Terra-Man

Jan 31, 11 11:33

Post #2 of 12 (13098 views)
Re: Recovery from spiral fracture of pinky toe? [jkatsoudas] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Need more info - which bone is involved? If it's the metetarsal, treatment would be different than the very end bone, aka the distal phalanx

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klehner

Jan 31, 11 11:51

Post #3 of 12 (13089 views)
Re: Recovery from spiral fracture of pinky toe? [jkatsoudas] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I broke my left pinky toe the night before an Olympic triathlon about 5 years ago. I did the race the next morning without knowing if I could get my foot in my running shoe. I could, and I won my age group.

Two days later, I had x-rays and the podiatrist kept looking for a broken bone in my foot, as the internal bleeding had to have come from another broken bone. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him I'd run 10km on it.

He basically said that pain should be my guide. Anything I did (other than something stupid like smashing it) would only delay the healing: the less I did, the quicker the healing would be and the swelling would dissipate. He said I could tape it to the adjacent toe if I wanted to (I didn't), and wear a boot if I wanted (I didn't). I took a few weeks off from running, but continued to bike and swim.

I don't recall my fracture being called a spiral fracture, so maybe mine was simpler. Looking back at my log (aka "slowtwitch search") I noted "proximal phalanx...Two weeks no running; biking is okay."
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jkatsoudas

Jan 31, 11 11:59

Post #4 of 12 (13081 views)
Re: Recovery from spiral fracture of pinky toe? [Terra-Man] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I believe it's the proximal phalanx, but I'll confirm with her.
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tigerchik

Jan 31, 11 12:02

Post #5 of 12 (13077 views)
Re: Recovery from spiral fracture of pinky toe? [jkatsoudas] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

can't answer the question but I hope it heals well, and soon.

calcium!
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RockyMtnChic

Jan 31, 11 12:41

Post #6 of 12 (13065 views)
Re: Recovery from spiral fracture of pinky toe? [jkatsoudas] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

No help here whatsoever on the working out side, but my sister-in-law had a spiral fracture in her pinky toe about 6 years ago and it has yet to actually heal. Still gives her problems. Doctor told her they could cut it off (literally) and the pain would go away. She said no thanks. I'll deal with the pain! I hope your wifes heals much better than hers did!!
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Spiridon Louis

Jan 31, 11 13:36

Post #7 of 12 (13049 views)
Re: Recovery from spiral fracture of pinky toe? [jkatsoudas] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I had a spiral fracture of the next toe over last year. I could barely walk on it dues to the pain the first week. It was 4 weeks before I could run. I kept it taped to the adjacent toe on my ortho's advice. A lot depends on how displaced it was, mine had to be set (ouch). Personally, I'd feel better seeing an MD and specifically I would find and orthopedic surgeon who runs or does triathlons.


rroof

Jan 31, 11 14:42

Post #8 of 12 (13031 views)
Re: Recovery from spiral fracture of pinky toe? [jkatsoudas] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Bedpost fractures (spiral fx of the proximal phalanx) are pretty common place (usually see at least 5 per week, 1 just a few hours ago). They almost always heal uneventfully, but a small percentage do end up with a non union and chronic pain. What most patients balance is the benefit/risk ratio of continuing to run before it heals (which takes around 6-8 weeks in most). First, the walking boot is definitely overkill for a 5th toe proximal phalanx fracture. Second, if my own wife or me, I WOULD run before 6-8 weeks if pain would let me (let pain be your guide type) since most runners are able to and the "benefit" for me would outweigh the very slim risks.

Best of luck.
____________________________________
Fatigue is biochemical, not biomechanical.
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jkatsoudas

Jan 31, 11 16:15

Post #9 of 12 (13016 views)
Re: Recovery from spiral fracture of pinky toe? [rroof] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Thanks everyone for the well-wishes. I'll pass them along.

RRoof- Thanks for the advice. Bedpost fracture is a very apt name in this case, as this is exactly how she broke it... running around getting ready in the morning and slammed her foot into the bedpost.

I may have used the wrong term before- he doesn't have her in a walking boot. He has her in what's (after a Google search) apparently called a surgical shoe like this one. He says it's mostly to protect the toe from additional impacts while it's healing, but the issue is that the sole is thicker than her flat shoes and lower than her heels so she's always walking with a height discrepancy between her two shoes which is causing her back pain so she'd like to get out of this thing as soon as it makes sense to do so.

http://www.dme-direct.com/surgical-shoe/


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rroof

Jan 31, 11 16:32

Post #10 of 12 (13011 views)
Re: Recovery from spiral fracture of pinky toe? [jkatsoudas] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Yup, you now know how that fracture gets it's name! Ah, yeah that surgical shoe is more typical. She can ditch that when comfortable in something like an open toe sandal (preferably a stiff one like a Birkenstock or equivalent). I'll assume her fracture is not intra-articular and not displaced. I'm told flowers and chocolate speed healing in women as well ;-)
____________________________________
Fatigue is biochemical, not biomechanical.
- Andrew Coggan, PhD


jkatsoudas

Jan 31, 11 16:39

Post #11 of 12 (13004 views)
Re: Recovery from spiral fracture of pinky toe? [rroof] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

rroof wrote:
Yup, you now know how that fracture gets it's name! Ah, yeah that surgical shoe is more typical. She can ditch that when comfortable in something like an open toe sandal (preferably a stiff one like a Birkenstock or equivalent). I'll assume her fracture is not intra-articular and not displaced. I'm told flowers and chocolate speed healing in women as well ;-)

No, it's not intra-articular or displaced.

Thanks again for the advice. You're definitely right about the chocolates and flowers.
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triFP

Jan 31, 11 16:39

Post #12 of 12 (13003 views)
Re: Recovery from spiral fracture of pinky toe? [rroof] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Also suggest lots of vitamin D. At least 4000 units/day for a couple of weeks. (some say take it 5 days a week and leave it off weekends). If she gets kidney stones, she's taking too much. (and needs adequate calcium in diet as above)

   
 
 
 



Current-aided swims
Do swims aided by a current, such as the NYC Tri and the past weekend's IM Chattanooga, diminish the achievement? Or are they just a local geographic expression of multisport?
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