Metatarsal Fracture Treatment | Metatarsal Bone Fracture Surgery | Fractured Metatarsal Healing Time, Recovery, Types, Symptoms and Causes
The foot has 5 metatarsals. These are what we know as the bone fingers. Although we can see our metatarsal bones smaller than the major bones in our body, fractures can range from minor to severe which can even lead the person to the operating room. Fractures can occur on any place of the foot but it is common for metatarsal stress fracture to occur on regions where the supply of blood is poor. When 5th metatarsal fracture happens, healing can sometimes be difficult. The “Jones fracture” is one definite example of this kind of fracture and this usually requires surgery.
Our metatarsals are among the bones in our lower extremities that can easily fracture and the usual cause is the dropping of heavy objects on the foot, which can result to bone stress or instant fracture to any of the metatarsal bones especially the second and fifth one.
Types of Metatarsal Fractures
There are five known types of metatarsal bone fractures and each of them can be caused by various accidents and improper care for the foot.
• Jones fracture. Also known as the tennis fracture, this is caused by the inversion of the foot during falls or direct blow to the foot that made it turn inward or outward.
• Distal fracture. Also known as the dancer’s fracture, this can occur due to the rotation of the body while the foot remains undirected and this can result to the twisting of the ligaments.
• Lisfranc dislocation. The lisfranc joints are part of the foot and they are dislocated due to falling from the stairs, from a height or stepping on a curb that dislocates the lisfranc joints.
• Stress fractures. Also known as the marcher’s foot, these fractures are commonly seen on military trainees who are using their feet doing leg exercise for prolong period of time. The bones of their feet can develop small cracks, which are the stress fractures.
• Insufficiency fractures. These occur because the bones on the foot cannot handle normal stress due to bone conditions that degenerate the density of the metatarsal bones.
The doctor would be asking the patient about the history of the injury then a physical examination follows. An x-ray would sometimes be sufficient to confirm if there is really a fractured metatarsal in your foot while an MRI or CT scan is rarely used to determine injuries. The doctor will look for revealing signs such as tenderness, swelling, internal hemorrhage, limited movement of the foot and inability of the foot to move or bear weight. Oftentimes radiography is enough to make a complete diagnosis on the condition of the foot but if the doctor wants more assurance, bone scanning can be the better option.
The most common causes of metatarsal fractures are twisting or direct fall of heavy object right onto the metatarsal bones, which can fracture some of the bones. It can also be the result of direct trauma, extreme rotation of the foot, and overuse just like when you are stressing the foot. Since only small tissues are present on the top of the foot, any heavy and hard object has a great impact on the internal bone structure of the foot.
Metatarsal Fracture Symptoms
The usual symptoms will most likely to appear such as:
• Severe pain on the top of the foot
• Tenderness that is mostly located at the fifth metatarsal fracture
• Swelling and bruising
• Difficulty of the person to walk.
• Pain when the toes are tried to move
Metatarsal Fracture Treatment and Healing
For immediate treatment, you have to elevate the injured foot and put an ice pack over it. If the person can go to the nearest hospital he must use crutches and not try to walk unsupported. For non-operative treatment, the doctor may recommend stiff soled shoe or casting the foot to make it more secured and make the healing faster. For medium to severe foot fractures, the doctor will advise the patient to use non-weight bearing cast for more than a month. This is the healing time. Metatarsal fracture surgery may be needed if the fracture occurs on the area where there is poor blood supply or when the bones are severely taken out of their places.
Because we never know when accidents can occur, we must always wear the proper footwear whenever we put our feet at risk. People who work in constructions sites are most vulnerable to this kind of fracture so it is necessary that metal-toed shoes must always be worn. For athletes, well-padded shoes must always be part of their special gears. Also, try to avoid stressing you foot because the bones in there can only take enough pressure. If your feet already hurt then stop and rest.
When to Call A Doctor
The bones in our foot, although are thin, have the ability to heal faster but when a fracture on the foot indicates that there is severe dislocations of the bones then the person must be brought immediately to the hospital. For milder cases, observe the person if the pain is increasing but if there is already swelling and numbness in the injured area you must call the doctor’s hotline as soon as possible.