What is included in the physical exam to evaluate foot fractures?

Updated: Sep 23, 2018
  • Author: Robert Silbergleit, MD; Chief Editor: Trevor John Mills, MD, MPH  more...
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Physical examination for foot fracture includes the following:

  • Inspect injured foot for swelling, bruises, deformity, and open wounds.

  • Uncover uninjured foot for side-by-side comparison.

  • Palpate for pulses, capillary refill, tenderness, instability, and crepitus.

  • Test range of motion and joint function. Normal ranges of motion of the foot relative to the ankle are 45 degrees plantarflexion, 20 degrees dorsiflexion, 30 degrees inversion, 20 degrees eversion, 20 degrees internal rotation, and 10 degrees external rotation. Comparisons with the uninjured foot are helpful.

  • Explore all open wounds.

  • Conduct and document a careful neurologic exam of foot, including both motor and sensory functions.

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