What is a 5th Metatarsal fracture?
This is a very common injury involving a break in the bony prominence on the outside of the foot about halfway between your heel and your pinky toe. This frequently results from an acute “turning in” of the foot while stepping on uneven ground, similar to the mechanism of a simple ankle sprain. However, these can also occur as chronic stress fractures which is a more serious type of injury.
How is this treated?
A simple or “avulsion” fracture of the 5th “Met” is treated with rest, comfortable shoes and maintenance of weight bearing and mobility–in our athletes, therapy may be required to maintain your strength to allow for a quicker return to sport once the fracture heals sufficiently which can take 4-6 weeks. There is a variant of this fracture known as a Jones fracture which is more complicated.
What is a Jones fracture?
This is a fracture of the 5th Metatarsal occurring in an area of the bone that has poor blood supply. As such, it can develop over time as a stress fracture and also takes a much longer time to heal. As opposed to the simple avulsion fracture, the Jones fracture requires a cast for up to 3 months and at least 6 weeks of crutches. In athletes, we frequently recommend a brief outpatient surgery to insert a screw in the bone to a) ensure the bone heals and b) speed the recovery and return to sport.