CUH Logo

Mobile menu open

Tarsal fracture undisplaced

Patient information A-Z

What is a tarsal fracture?

The term tarsal fracture is often taken to mean a broken foot in general. It does, however, specifically refer to the rare occurrence that one of the tarsal bones in the rear of the foot is fractured. These bones are very rarely fractured individually.

Tarsal bones can be fractured through a sudden impact or force or through repetitive forces, resulting in a stress (hairline) fracture.

X-ray showing a tarsal fracture

Swelling and bruising at the injury site is normal. Regular painkillers and applying ice to the area, wrapped in a tea towel, will help to reduce swelling and pain. Ice should be applied for 20 minutes three to four times a day.

  • You should use rest, ice and elevation to reduce swelling and help with pain.
  • You should take pain killers as directed.
  • You should wear the walking boot as directed and follow weight-bearing instructions given.
  • You should not take part in any physical/ contact sports which may put you at risk at further injury. The time frame for this will be outlined at the point of assessment.
  • You should not drive whilst wearing the walking boot as you will void your insurance should you have an accident.

A boot is usually given following this injury, you may be required to wear this for up to six weeks unless otherwise directed. Crutches may also be required in the early stages to alleviate pressure on the foot.

If your condition is not improving, or if your pain relief is not adequate, please contact your GP.

If your condition is worsening please contact the multi-professional fracture clinic on 01223 348299 or 01223 257095.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151