5th Metatarsal Fracture

Fifth metatarsal fractures are very painful and can be debilitating. The foot is made of many different bones. The metatarsal bones are the long bones that connect to the toe bones.  Fifth metatarsal fractures are common. Most of the time, they occur because of ankle injuries. There are two main types of fractures in the fifth metatarsal. Once you fracture your foot, you will experience a lot of pain that may hinder your ability to walk. Fifth metatarsal fractures can happen in many different ways. If you have a metatarsal fracture, make sure to see a physician as soon as possible. Allowing a metatarsal fracture to heal wrong can be the worst thing for you.

Fifth metatarsal fractures md top10mdFoot Anatomy

The foot is typically defined as the area from the heel to the toe. The tibia, fibula, and talus comprise the ankle bone. These bones are held together by ligaments, tendons, and muscles. The flat part of the foot is comprised of about six different bones. Four of those bones are called the cuneiform bones. Our toes are very short, but the beginning of those toe bones start almost at the middle of the foot. The metatarsals are the five bones that start the formation of what we know as our toes. Each metatarsal bone connects to the phalange bones. The phalanges are the bones we see and call our tones. Any breaks in those metatarsal bones affect the whole foot.

Without metatarsals, our feet would look extremely short and stubby. Although the metatarsals are part of the toe bones, they also make up most of the flat part of the foot. Breaking a metatarsal not only hurts the toes but it can also hurt in the flat part of the foot. The tendons and ligaments that hold the ankle together connect to the metatarsals. The fifth metatarsal connects to the pinky toe. Most of us are good at stubbing those pinky toes. It is the smallest and most fragile toe, making it easier to break. The bone can either shift out of place or break through the middle. Both instances are painful.

Metatarsal Fractures

The two main types of breaks in the fifth metatarsal are avulsion fractures and Jones fractures. Avulsion fractures are more of a shift in the metatarsal bone. This tends to happen with ankle sprains. Ankle sprains are related to the stretching of the ligaments in the ankle. When the ligament stretches or tears, it can pull on that metatarsal bone and cause a piece of the bone to come out of place. This type of fracture is a result of an injury, typically related to rolling the ankle. This is a common injury for athletes that do a lot of jumping. It is so easy to fall wrong on that ankle and roll it. It can also happen just by walking on an uneven surface.

Jones fractures are fractures that occur at the end of the metatarsal bone. This fracture takes much longer to heal. Injuries from the ankle may also cause this fracture as well as stress on the foot. Stress fractures are common among certain athletes. Runners and dancers suffer from stress fractures more than anyone else. A Jones fracture can happen suddenly or over time. The more you damage or injure your foot, the more stress you put on your foot. After a while, it will eventually lead to a fracture in the foot.

Risk Factors

If you suffer from any bone disease, you are more susceptible to stress fractures of the metatarsal bone. Those with osteoporosis have weak bones and are more vulnerable to fifth metatarsal fractures. Rheumatoid arthritis is also a precursor for fractures in the foot. The inflammation of the ankle joints puts added stress on the metatarsal bones. High activity is also a risk factor for fifth metatarsals fractures. This is one reason runners and dancers have more fifth metatarsal fractures than anyone else.

Symptoms of 5th Metatarsal Fracture

Fifth metatarsal fractures md top10mdThe symptoms of the fifth metatarsal fracture include pain and swelling. The foot feels tender, and you will probably see bruising. Depending on the level of pain you have, you may not even be able to walk or put any pressure on the foot at all. You may think your injury is just another sprain or strain but bruising along the side of the foot is a sign of fracture.

A sprained ankle happens all the time but you probably never realized it could lead to a fifth metatarsal fracture. After being diagnosed, you have to stay off of that foot to give it time to heal. The best thing to do is keep the foot elevated and ice it. Most of the time you will get a cast or boot. If you are an athlete, fractures in the foot are annoying. The best thing to do is ice and rest your foot whenever you have even a slight injury. Repetitive motions on the same foot can be very harmful and wind up leading to a fracture. Fractures of the fifth metatarsal take a while to heal. If you follow the doctors instructions and make sure you are well before returning to physical activity, then the healing process with go by much quicker.


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