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A displaced cuboid fracture can occur from falls, high-impact injuries, and direct blows to the foot. A displaced fracture is a type of broken bone where the two ends of the bone do not align properly. Displacement means that there is more than 2mm of a gap between the fracture fragments. These types of fractures usually require surgical intervention to ensure proper healing.
Management of Displaced Cuboid Fractures
If you have a displaced cuboid fracture you may experience symptoms such as pain and localized swelling in the outer mid-foot, bruising, and inability to bear weight on the affected foot.
If you suspect that you have a broken cuboid bone you should contact your local foot doctor to be evaluated. Your doctor will diagnose the cuboid bone break using x-rays, an MRI, or a CT scan.
Your doctor will assess how displaced your cuboid fracture is and also if the bone fragments are rotated. Your doctor will also look at whether the cuboid articulates with its joint spaces.
If the cuboid bone is dislocated, your doctor will have to realign it during surgery. In some cases, crush injuries can cause shortening of the lateral column (the outer portion of your foot). It’s important to correct this shortening issue to prevent problems with your foot structure.
How Do You Fix a Cuboid Fracture?
A displaced cuboid fracture can be corrected using open reduction internal fixation surgery (ORIF) or via external fixation surgery.
Open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) is a type of surgical procedure used to fix a broken bone. During ORIF, the surgeon repositions the broken bones back into their natural alignment and then holds them in place with surgical hardware, such as plates and screws.
External fixation foot surgery is a surgery that uses metal pins and rods to stabilize and realign the broken bone. During the surgery, metal pins are inserted through the skin and into the bone to keep the bone in place. The pins are then connected to one or more external frames that are used to keep the bone in the correct alignment. The frame also allows for gradual realignment of the bone over time.
The goal of the surgery is to allow the bones to heal properly and restore the patient’s mobility. External fixation may be needed if you have sustained a cuboid crush injury.
Read more about what to expect with cuboid surgery here.
Cuboid Fracture Recovery
You will need to stay non-weight bearing for 6-8 weeks after surgery in a cast. You can use a knee scooter or crutches to help you stay off of your foot.
You should keep your cast dry while in the shower. You can use a cast protector to do so.
You can then start partial weight bearing in a cast boot for an additional 4 weeks before transitioning into athletic shoes.
Your doctor will recommend that you undergo physical therapy for 4 weeks to help improve strength/balance and decrease pain.
Full recovery from a displaced cuboid fracture can take 3 months or longer.
Can Displaced Cuboid Fractures Heal Without Surgery?
Although displaced fractures can eventually heal without surgery, it would take much longer for the bones to align together and heal. Depending on how badly the fracture fragments are displaced, the fracture could heal incorrectly. This could cause pain and instability and further damage to the joint and soft tissue structures nearby. Surgical correction can help prevent this damage from occurring.
Surgery for displaced cuboid fractures is an effective treatment option for correcting cuboid bone breaks. The surgery is usually successful, and the patient can usually return to normal activities within a few months. This surgery can be a great option for those who want to avoid a lengthy recovery time associated with non-operative treatments.
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