Broken Bone In Foot And Toes In Children

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Last Medical Review: March 28, 2020
Medically Reviewed by Dr. David Costa Navarro
Fracture in Children (March 28, 2020)

Children can break a leg in the middle foot or in the toes if, for example, they fall or accidentally drop something on the foot. Children who have broken bones in the foot or toes usually get a bandage around the injury. Sometimes an operation is also needed to repair the damaged legs.

Children usually do not have any future problems after a leg fracture or toes. But it can take a few weeks before the foot feels perfectly good and the child can take part in sports lessons and other physical activities again.


When the child has injured the foot or toes, they tend to be sore and limp. Swelling, redness or bruising are usually common symptoms.

The injury does not have to mean that the child has broken a leg in the middle foot or toes. For example, it may be a stretch that goes over time.

When and where should I seek care?

If the child is in a lot of pain and is unable to support his foot and toes to the floor, you should contact a health care center. Because the skin is usually healed, you do not see how serious the damage is, and to find out, the child must be examined.

You can always call and receive medical advice at telephone number 911.

What can I do for myself?

To relieve the pain, it is good if the child keeps his foot still and avoids supporting it.

When the child injures the middle foot or toes, they must sometimes be anesthetized during treatment. Therefore, it is important that the child does not eat anything before. Otherwise, there is a risk that they will vomit during the anesthetic and that the contents of the stomach end up in the lungs causing respiratory distress. If the child is not fasting, the waiting time is extended until the doctor can do something.

Although the baby should be fasting, you can give non-prescription pain-relieving medicines containing paracetamol, such as Alvedon or Panodil. The drugs are available in different forms and the dose is adjusted according to the child’s weight. There are instructions on the package. If you give your child tablets by mouth, rinse them only with a little water.

Difficult to prevent this type of injury

It is difficult to prevent leg and toe fractures, for example, such injuries can easily occur when children accidentally kick a table leg or a chair leg.

Investigations and investigations

The doctor examining the child feels on the foot and toes to examine where it hurts and if it is swollen. The child may also try to move the foot and toes.

Most often it is the legs of the middle foot that have been injured.

The foot and toes are examined and x-rayed

If the doctor suspects the skeleton is damaged, an X-ray examination is performed. Then the child may place his foot still on a special x-ray table. Then, at least two x-rays are taken to show if the skeleton is damaged and if it has any malfunction. The doctor then decides which treatment is needed.

It doesn’t hurt to take x-rays. However, it can hurt when the doctor feels on the leg. As a parent or close relative, you can participate in the entire investigation. You must put on a protective apron or leave the room when the X-rays are taken.


Most of the damage to the middle foot and toes heals by themselves, and usually it is enough with sturdy shoes to protect the foot. It is natural that the child does not want to support the foot as long as it hurts, usually a few days to a week. Sometimes the child may need a plaster dressing.

Sometimes an operation is needed

Some leg and toe fractures may need to be corrected during surgery. Then the child is usually anesthetized after being anesthetized long enough so that there is no risk of vomiting during the anesthesia. That is why you should not give your child something to eat or drink before going to the hospital, except possibly pain-relieving medication.

An anesthetic ointment is applied to the skin in the arm fold or on the hand. The ointment may work for about an hour. Then a thin tube is inserted into a blood vessel, either on the hand or in the arm fold. Sometimes the child may have such pain that they need pain-relieving medication in their blood right away. Then the doctor does not use anesthetic ointment before, because it takes too long before it works.

When the child is to be anesthetized, sleep and anesthetics are injected into the thin plastic tube. Sometimes the baby is anesthetized by first inhaling sleep medication through a breathing mask. Then the thin tube is inserted into the arm so that the child can get more sleep. A parent or other relative may accompany the child into the operating room and be present until they fall asleep. An anesthetist and a nurse check that the child is feeling well and not in pain during treatment.

When the child is anesthetized, the doctor, who is usually an orthopedist, can correct the misalignment at the injured site before possibly inserting a pin to keep the broken leg in a good position. Then the child gets a plaster.

When the operation is complete, the child is transported in his bed to a so-called awakening ward. There the child is allowed to lie down until they awake properly, which can take up to a couple of hours. A parent or other relative may sit next to the bed for the time being. Some children may feel ill after waking up.

The surgical pins must be removed at a later date. It usually does not hurt, but it is possible to get stunning if desired.

Gemini dressings

When the child has broken his or her legs, it may be good to stabilize the toe with a so-called twin joint. A compress is applied between the toes before the damaged toe is taped together with the toe next to it.

When the child has come home

When the child is home again, it is good to have your foot in a high position to reduce the swelling. It is not dangerous if the child supports the foot, but it usually hurts a little.

The child may need to be home for a few days, depending on how bad they are. If crutches are difficult to support, crutches may be needed.

For the first few days, the child may be in pain and need some form of pain-relieving medication with acetaminophen, such as Alvedon or Panodil.

Crutches can be obtained at the health center

The child can usually get crutches at the care center you were in contact with for the first time. When the child no longer needs to join the crutches, they should be returned to the nearest health center.

Small children under the age of six are usually unable to balance crutches. They may need to use a walker instead. It can be picked up at the Resource Center after referral from a doctor.

Here you can read about how it is possible to get mobility aids, and find out which ones are available where you live.

The bone fracture heals

The healing of the broken leg in the foot or toe occurs by forming cartilage around the fracture of the bone. At first, it may feel like a hard lump, but the cartilage is converted within a year to normal bone tissue.

It can be hard to have plaster

Children may find it exciting to have plaster for a few days, but then it can be painful. Sometimes it scratches under the plaster and mobility is hindered.

The dressing must be protected from water

Children who have plaster should not bathe. The shower goes well, but the plaster must be protected from water because it can be loosened up by water. Dressings in the form of a plastic plaster are not destroyed by water, but the hydrogen stays inside the plaster and this makes the skin not feel well. There is a risk of fungal infection.

In pharmacies there are special plastic covers that can be used when the child is showering. You can also use a dense plastic bag.

If the plaster breaks

If the plaster breaks, it can be repaired or replaced. If there is a problem with the plaster, you should contact the place where the child was treated.

Some may find it nasty to remove the plaster

Some children may find it unpleasant to remove the plaster. If it is a plaster that surrounds the foot, the plaster must be sawn with a special saw. It does not hurt, but can give a vibrating feeling and is experienced as a little scary. The middle foot and toes can feel unusually light after removing the plaster.

Once the child has had the plaster or bandage removed, the doctor examines whether the middle foot and toes appear to have healed and if more visits are needed. The doctor may need to do a new x-ray examination after a week to see if the bone fracture is still in a good location.

Children usually do not have any future complaints of broken bones in the feet and toes. On the other hand, it can take several weeks before the foot feels perfectly good and the child can participate in sports lessons and other physical activities again.

What happens in the body?

When children injure the foot, it can lead to fractures in the middle foot or toes. Such fractures, so-called fractures, can occur, for example, when the child falls or accidentally loses something on the foot.

In the middle foot and each toe are several legs, which together with the ankle and heel form an arch that allows the foot to spring slightly as you walk on it.

Children receive injuries other than adults

Both children and adults can break bones in the middle foot and toes in the event of an accident. But the growing child skeleton and the adult, ready-made skeleton suffer different types of damage.

Some differences between children and adults:

  • The muscles attach to the skeleton with tendons. In children, the skeleton is softer and more porous than the tendon and tendon. Therefore, when children fall into an accident, the tendon or muscle does not break, but they more often suffer a skeletal injury than adults.
  • Because the skeleton is softer, children sometimes suffer injuries where the skeleton is not broken off as in adults, but only bent. These injuries are treated as common bone fractures.
  • As children grow, parts of the skeleton are softer and more porous than the other skeleton. Here the child can get displacements, so-called epiphysiolysis. These injuries are also treated as common bone fractures.
  • The child’s skeleton changes as it grows. Therefore, misalignments after fractures in the middle foot and toes do not always need to be corrected or operated. In children, misalignments are rectified by yourself, while adults who have the same misalignments usually have to be treated.
  • Healing is much faster in children than in adults and therefore the treatment time is shorter.

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