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Fifth Metatarsal Fracture

The fifth metatarsal is the long bone on the outside of your foot that connects to the little toe.  A fracture is a complete or incomplete break in a bone occurring when the physical force exerted on the bone is stronger than the bone itself.  There are two fractures that most commonly occur in the fifth metatarsal.  They are the avulsion fracture and the Jones fracture.  An avulsion fracture is when a ligament or tendon attached to the bone pulls off a small portion of the bone when an injury occurs.  In the fifth metatarsal this may occur with an ankle sprain.  A Jones fracture is a fracture that occurs in the fifth metatarsal in a small area of the bone that receives less blood than the rest of the metatarsal.  Jones fractures are caused by overuse or trauma.     

The symptoms of a fractured fifth metatarsal include pain, swelling and tenderness, difficulty walking, and occasional bruising.   If you experience these symptoms on the outside of your foot, you should seek prompt treatment with one of our physician and surgeons at Ankle & Foot of Edmonds.  Walking on or failing to treat a fractured fifth metatarsal can lead to complications including bone deformities, failure to heal, arthritis and chronic pain.

Our podiatrists will first ask you how you injured yourself or when the pain began.  The surgeon will carefully examine your foot and will order x-rays. Some fractures are often difficult to see and may require several views at different angles to see clear fracture lines. In some cases, CT, MRI or other imaging tests are required to demonstrate fracture.  Sometimes, especially with children, the initial x ray may not show any fractures but taken again in seven to fourteen days, may show changes in the bone.  From your answers and the examination with imaging, our doctor will determine the best course of treatment for your diagnosis.  Some of the options for treatment may include immobilization (such as a boot cast), crutches, ice, pain medication and/or NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory).  Recuperation time varies depending on your age and health and the type of fracture. A fracture in a child may heal within a few weeks; a fracture in an older person may take months to heal.  If the bone should be displaced, have multiple breaks or will not heal, surgery may be indicated.  Jones fractures frequently take longer to heal and part of your treatment may include bone stimulation.  This is a pain-free external device that uses electro-stimulation over a fractured site to promote and expedite healing.  Surgery may be needed to heal a Jones fracture since they often do not heal with conservative measures. 

Some things you can do to try to prevent a fifth metatarsal fracture would be to warm up prior to physical activity, wear proper shoes (our podiatrists can determine which shoes are best for you) and avoid running or walking on uneven surfaces.

Contact Ankle & Foot of Edmonds to schedule an appointment for Fifth Metatarsal Fracture

We have convenient hours and always have a doctor on call for emergencies. Call us today at (425) 775-6996 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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