Explore 5th Metatarsal Fractures

The Injury

The fifth metatarsal is the long bone on the outside of the foot that connects to the small toe. Fracture are common in this bone, but can happen in different areas. Identifying the fracture type is essential in determining treatment. X-rays are important in making the diagnosis and sometimes further imaging is also performed.

Avulsion Fractures

An avulsion fracture happens at the most proximal end of the bone. This part of the bone is attached to tendon.  These kind of breaks typically happen after an ankle sprain, and most are treated nonoperatively with rest and use of a cast boot.

Jones Fractures

When a break occurs slightly more distal on the bone, it is called a Jones fracture. These can occur both from acute injuries or stress injuries and are often seen in athletes. This area of the bone has a poor blood supply and therefore these breaks can be difficult to heal. Generally athletes will have surgery to improve odds of healing.

Fifth metatarsal shaft fractures

Fractures to the shaft of the 5th metatarsal shaft are often referred to as “dancer’s fractures.” They can appear to look severe on x-rays, but most are treated nonoperatively.

Bone stimulation.

In some cases, a bone stimulator is used to accelerate healing of a fracture. This is an external devise that can help promote bone growth.