Metatarsal fracture (acute) - aftercare
You were treated for a broken bone in your foot. The bone that was broken is called the metatarsal.
At home, be sure to follow your doctor's instructions on how to take care of your broken foot so that it heals well.
Broken foot - metatarsal; Jones fracture; Dancer's fracture; Foot fracture
What is a Metatarsal Fracture?
The metatarsal bones are the long bones in your foot that connect your ankle to your toes. They also help you balance when you stand and walk.
A sudden blow or severe twist of your foot, or overuse, can cause a break, or acute (sudden) fracture, in one of the bones.
More About Your Injury
There are five metatarsal bones in your foot. The 5th metatarsal is the outer bone that connects to your little toe. It is the most commonly fractured metatarsal bone.
A common type of break in the part of your 5th metatarsal bone closest to the ankle is called a Jones fracture. This area of the bone has low blood flow. This makes healing difficult.
An avulsion fracture occurs when a tendon pulls a piece of bone away from the rest of the bone. An avulsion fracture on the 5th metatarsal bone is called a "dancer's fracture."
What to Expect
If your bones are still aligned (meaning that the broken ends meet), you will probably wear a cast or splint for 6 to 8 weeks.
If the bones are not aligned, you may need surgery. A bone doctor (orthopedic surgeon) will do your surgery. After surgery you will wear a cast for 6 to 8 weeks.
Relieving Your Symptoms
You can decrease swelling by:
Make an ice pack by putting ice in a plastic bag and wrapping a cloth around it.
For pain, you can use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, and others) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, and others).
As you recover, your provider will instruct you to begin moving your foot. This may be as soon as 3 weeks or as long 8 weeks after your injury.
When you restart an activity after a fracture, build up slowly. If your foot begins to hurt, stop and rest.
Some exercises you can do to help increase your foot mobility and strength are:
As you recover, your provider will check how well your foot is healing. You will be told when you can:
When to Call the Doctor
Call your provider if you have any of these symptoms:
Ishikawa SN. Fractures and dislocations of the foot. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 88.
Richter M, Kwon JY, DiGiovanni CW. Foot injuries. In: Browner BD, Jupiter JB, Krettek C, Anderson PA, eds. Skeletal Trauma: Basic Science, Management, and Reconstruction. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 67.
Review Date: 10/11/2018
Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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