Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ


Have you ever heard of getting a broken foot from an airbag going off in a car? That's what happened to me! I was told that being short probably contributed to the injury. Is that true?


Front-end collisions resulting in airbag release can cause significant physical injuries. The force of the bag inflating against the body protects the person from smashing into the dashboard or going out the front window. But as Newton's third law of motion states, For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This means that for every force there is a reaction force that is equal in size but in the opposite direction. The transfer of force during the car crash and air bag release can result in a traumatic injury to the otherwise unprotected body. The most common airbag-related injuries are to the hip, thigh, and knee. In fact almost half (49.5 per cent) of airbag injuries affect these areas. More than one-third of the injuries (38.4 per cent) are to the foot and ankle. Fractures, dislocations, and torn ligaments affecting the midfoot are common. And height is a factor. Being short (usually less than four feet, six inches) does increase the number of ankle and foot injuries. If the foot is not planted firmly on the car floor, the unprotected, unstabilized area takes a significant hit. Amar Patel, MD, et al. Midfoot Arthritis. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. July 2010. Vol. 18. No. 7. Pp. 417-425.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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