metatarsal fracture

Metatarsal Fx

By Basem Hakim DPM

A metatarsal fracture is a fracture of one of the metatarsal bones of the foot. 

The fifth metatarsal fracture is the commonest metatarsal bone to get broken and is one of the most common foot injuries because of the excess pressure on the outside part of your foot. Metatarsal fractures can happen due to a direct blow to the foot, jump, twisting/rotating the foot, or sudden direction changes of the foot/ankle the wrong way due to an accident or sports injury.

When there is a hairline crack of a metatarsal bone, it’s called a stress fracture. This type of fracture usually happens from repetitive overuse. This fracture is common among dancers because their work involves a lot of jumping, balancing, and turning on one foot.

If you have a metatarsal fracture, you may experience trouble walking, discomfort/pain, swelling, or bruising.

Treatment depends on how bad the fracture is and where the fracture is on the bone. If the bone fragments are still aligned, you may need only a splint/cast to wear to keep the fracture stable, and you may be given crutches to keep weight off your foot. Eventually, you will transition into a surgical shoe, then a regular shoe in about 6-8 weeks, depending on your healing process.

You may need surgery to bring the fragments together if the bones are not aligned. After surgery, you will be in your splint/cast for 6-8 weeks. It is important to give your foot time to heal, so you do not hurt it again. Do not return to your usual activities until your doctor says you can. Your doctor may suggest you get physiotherapy to help regain strength and range of motion in your foot.

Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you have problems. Knowing your test results and keeping a list of the medicines you take, eating various healthy foods, and not smoking is also a good idea. Smoking is the most contributory factor to delayed union, and smokers have significantly prolonged healing. You heal best when you take good care of yourself.

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