Fractures are common in the fifth metatarsal- the long bone on the outside of the foot that connects to the little toe. Two types of fractures that often occur in the fifth metatarsal are:
- Avulsion fracture. In an avulsion fracture, a small piece of bone is pulled off the main portion of the bone by a tendon or ligament. This type of fracture is the result of an injury in which the ankle rolls. Avulsion fractures are often overlooked when they occur with an ankle sprain.
- Jones fracture. Jones fractures occur in a small area of the fifth metatarsal that receives less blood and is therefore more prone to difficulties in healing. A Jones fracture can be either a stress fracture (a tiny hairline break that occurs over time) or an acute (sudden) break. Jones fractures are caused by overuse, repetitive stress, or trauma. They are less common and more difficult to treat than avulsion fractures.
Avulsion and Jones fractures have the same symptoms. These include:
- Pain, swelling, and tenderness on the outside of the foot.
- Difficulty walking.
- Bruising may occur.
The podiatrist will also order X-rays. Because a Jones fracture often does not show up on a X-ray, additional imaging tests may be ordered.
Until you are able to see a podiatrist, the R.I.C.E. method of care should be performed. The podiatrist may use one of these non-surgical options for treatment of a fifth metatarsal fracture:
- Immobilization. Depending on the severity of the injury, the foot is kept immobile with a cast, cast boot, or stiff-soled shoe. Crutches may also be need to avoid placing weight on the injured foot.
- Bone stimulation. A pain-free external device is used to speed the healing of some fractures. Bone stimulation, most commonly used for Jones fractures, may be used as part of the treatment or following an inadequate response to immobilization.
If you are an athlete who has a sports injury, call our Newington, Kensington, or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Craig M. Kaufman, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Sports Podiatrist in CT
Podiatrist in Newington, Kensington, and Middletown, CT
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