The human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, and over one hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments. All of these work together to help your balance, increase foot and ankle stability, and enable you to walk and run. One of the important bones in the foot is called a cuboid bone, and it is one of the more common bones that can fracture when subjected to trauma.
What is Cuboid Bone?
On the outside of both your feet is a cube-shaped bone that, along with other small bones, connects the foot to the ankle. It’s called the cuboid bone.
What Does the Cuboid Bone Do?
Along with helping to connect the foot to the ankle, the cuboid bone helps to keep the foot stable and helps to transmit force between the foot and the ankle. Due to it’s unique shape, the cuboid bone provides a great amount of stability to the entire foot, with many other bones, ligaments, and tendons relying on it for support. Because of its many jobs, when the cuboid bone is fractured, it significantly affects the mobility of the foot and ankle area. This bone is one that is often fractured when the foot or ankle is injured due to trauma.
How Cuboid Bone Fractures Happen
Like any bone in your body, the cuboid bone can be broken in any number of ways. Repeated stress on a joint over an extended period of time can result in stress fractures. Stress fractures are so small that when they are new, they usually can’t even be seen on an x-ray. As the bone grows back together, the stress fracture becomes more visible on x-rays.
You might have had something heavy such as machinery or tools dropped on your foot, and that caused the fracture. Or, you could have been involved in a car accident or a fall from significant height, where your foot was subjected to hundreds or even thousands of pounds of force. No matter the reason, a cuboid fracture can be painful and is often difficult to treat.
Treating a Cuboid Fracture
It should come as no surprise that any fracture is going to result in some degree of pain. More severe fractures, compound fractures, open fractures, or fractures of larger bones will clearly be more painful. The first step is to manage the pain.
Most doctors will start with the least potentially harmful pain management solution, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. If a stronger solution is necessary, they may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs that are stronger than those you can buy over-the-counter. If neither of these solutions are effective, the doctor will consider a prescription opioid or a narcotic.
Doctors must weigh the pain relief that is needed against the risk of an addiction to these highly-addictive substances. In the event of a severe fracture involving a very high level of pain, the physician would likely induce sleep in the patient with an IV anesthetic until the bone and other injuries can be stabilized.
Treating a Stress Fracture
A stress fracture is a small fracture that is caused by either a constant level of medium stress, or a sudden onset of high stress to the bone in question. The level and duration of stress is more than the bone or bones can handle, and tiny cracks form in the bone, called a stress fracture. A stress fracture in the cuboid bone would mean that all weight-bearing activity must stop until the fracture heals – often several weeks. It is likely that the patient would have to wear a walking boot or a cast and use crutches in order to enable some mobility while still protecting the broken bone from pressure.
Some people who suspect a stress fracture attempt to ignore it, feeling that it will heal itself in time. But a stress fracture left untreated could lead to a complete bone breakage or cause injury to other bones in the foot, and will result in a considerable amount of pain. The lessening level of pain as healing occurs will give your doctor the information he or she needs to know regarding how well and how completely your fracture is healing.
Treating a Traumatic Fracture
A traumatic cuboid fracture will require immediate medical treatment, including x-rays to determine whether or not the fracture is displaced, i.e. whether the bones are broken such that the pieces of the bone have been separated. If a displaced fracture is found, surgery will be required to move the pieces of the bone back to their proper location, and keep them there so that the bone can properly heal. If it isn’t a displaced fracture, a cast will be put on the patient and the bone will heal naturally in time – usually several weeks. A full recovery from a cuboid fracture happens in nearly every case.
If the fracture is not treated properly when the bone is initially broken, the bone will heal incorrectly. This can cause a multitude of symptoms including lack of mobility, pain, arthritis, and joint stiffness. To avoid these types of complications, If you suspect that you’ve broken a bone in your foot or ankle, make sure that you consult with a specialist in orthopedic podiatry when you are obtaining opinions on the best treatment options.
If you’ve been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you’ve suffered a cuboid bone fracture or any other serious injuries, the attorneys at The Sevey Law Firm would like to invite you to come in for a free, confidential consultation. We can assess the severity of your injuries in relation to your accident claim and offer you a well-educated opinion regarding the strength of your case. You can contact us by phone at (916) 788-7100 or through our online contact page.