The metatarsal bones are the long bones in your foot that connect your ankle to your toes. They also help you balance when you stand and walk.
A sudden blow or severe twist of your foot, or overuse, can cause a break or acute (sudden) fracture in one of the bones.
There are five metatarsal bones in your foot. The 5thmetatarsal is the outer bone that connects to your little toe. It is the most commonly fractured metatarsal bone.
A break in the part of your 5thmetatarsal bone closest to the foot is called a Jones fracture. This area of the bone has low blood flow. This makes healing difficult.
An avulsion fracture occurs when a tendon pulls a piece of bone away from the rest of the bone. An avulsion fracture on the 5thmetatarsal bone is called a “dancer’s fracture.”
If your bones are still aligned (meaning that the broken ends meet), you will probably wear a cast or splint for 6 - 8 weeks.
If the bones are not aligned, you will need surgery. A bone doctor (orthopedic surgeon) will do your surgery. After surgery you will wear a cast for 6 - 8 weeks.
You can decrease swelling by
Make an ice pack by putting ice in a zip lock plastic bag and wrapping a cloth around it.
For pain, you can use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, and others) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, and others).
As you recover, you will be asked to begin moving your foot. This may be as soon as 3 weeks or as long 8 weeks after your injury.
When you restart an activity after a fracture, build up slowly. If your foot begins to hurt, stop and rest.
Some exercises you can do to help increase your foot mobility and strength are:
As you recover, your health care provider will check how well your foot is healing. He or she will tell you when you can stop using crutches, have your cast removed, and start doing your normal activities again.
Call your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms:
Broken foot-metatarsal; Jones fracture; Dancer’s fracture; Foot fracture
Brodsky JW, Bruck, N. Foot and Ankle. In: DeLee JC. ed. DeLee and Drez’s Orthopedic Sports Medicine. 3rded. Philadelphia, Pa. Saunders Elsevier, 2009. Chap 25.
Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewe by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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