What is a Metatarsal Fracture?

The metatarsals are the bones that go from the middle of your foot and extend to the toes. A metatarsal fracture is the breaking of any of these five bones in your foot, with some areas more prone to injury than others. Below, we will go over the signs and symptoms of a metatarsal fracture as well as treatment options available in Illinois.

Metatarsal Fracture Symptoms

Symptoms of a metatarsal fracture include pain when weight is put on the foot, pain during activity, pain to the touch, and swelling in one area of the foot. Any pain that hinders your ability to do normal activities should always be addressed by a medical professional, particularly a foot and ankle specialist.

Metatarsal Fracture Causes

Metatarsal fractures are either caused by stress (stress fracture) or are traumatic. A stress fracture is a small break that occurs due to stress put on the bone over a period of time This is common among runners and other athletes who put a lot of stress on their feet. A stress fracture tends to hurt badly while performing the activity and then lessening in pain when activity is halted. If not treated, the stress fracture will get worse. A traumatic metatarsal fracture happens due to trauma to the foot. It is a break in the metatarsal due to one event, such as a crush injury. A traumatic metatarsal fracture should also be immediately treated.

 Jones Fracture

The Jones fracture is an injury that occurs to the fifth metatarsal – a small area that receives less blood flow, thus non-surgical treatment may not lead to adequate healing and surgical stabilization is often necessary. However, surgical treatment can be performed through a percutaneous technique (stab hole technique) utilizing minimally-invasive advancements to avoid large incisions. With non-surgical treatment of Jones fractures, avoiding weight bearing is necessary for 6 to 8 weeks in a cast. With surgical stabilization, immediate weight bearing is permitted.

Metatarsal Fracture Treatment

Many advances in the metatarsal fracture treatment including the use of supplemental bone grafts, stimulators, specialized surgical screws, and other techniques have been improving outcomes. Appropriate screw selection and placement is critical in optimizing healing. Dr. Vora has designed a specific screw fixation system used for the treatment of this type of injury that has gained widespread acceptance nationally.

However, fractures of the metatarsals generally do not require surgical treatment. Some fracture patterns, particularly those with multiple fractured metatarsal bones or severe deformities, may require surgical stabilization to realign the bones appropriately. Each injury is different, so a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon will need to take a look to determine the proper treatment route.

Metatarsal Fracture Recovery

A metatarsal fracture should heal in about 6-8 weeks. The healing time is about the same for those that undergo surgery and those that do not.  A cast or splint will need to be worn during this time to ensure proper recovery. Patients will need to keep weight off of the foot and elevate the foot when possible to alleviate swelling.

Contact Dr. Vora Today

Dr. Vora is an orthopaedic surgeon in Illinois with a specialty in the foot and ankle. He has helped countless patients in recovering from a metatarsal fracture and has successfully performed metatarsal fracture surgery to repair the foot when necessary. Contact our offices in Chicago or Libertyville today to learn more.