A Jones fracture is a break or crack in the fifth metatarsal, which is one of the long bones in your foot. The fifth metatarsal bone helps form the outside edge of the foot and connects to your little toe. This type of injury can result from twisting or stress on the foot when participating in sports that require running and jumping.
What is a Metatarsal Fracture?
Your metatarsals are the long bones in your feet and toes that help you walk, run and transfer weight from your foot when standing or walking. The fifth metatarsal is also called the “lateral” or “outside” bone of the foot. It’s located on the outside of your foot connected to the little toe. Professional athlete, Football player Derrick Henry suffered this injury during a Thursday night football game against the Miami Dolphins. “I just felt it break,” Henry said after the game on the injury, which occurred in the first quarter of a 23-20 loss. A Jones Fracture requires surgery to heal, so Derrick was put on crutches and will be out for at least 12 weeks as he recovers from surgery.
Symptoms may include pain in your foot that can be mild or severe, tenderness, swelling, and bruising. You might also have one leg that’s shorter than the other if you broke your fifth metatarsal bone while running or jumping because it changes the way your legs function. You might also feel like you can still move your toe or foot, but there is no movement because the ligaments are too tight to allow for any range of motion.
A Jones fracture occurs when someone jumps down to the ground from a height, lands on uneven footing, or experiences stress outside the foot. It’s also possible to injure your fifth metatarsal bone by twisting it excessively, but this type of injury isn’t as common as a Jones fracture because it causes more damage on the inside of the foot.
First aid for a Jones fracture includes resting and icing your foot with a cold pack or bag of ice. Taking anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help to decrease swelling and pain while you’re revising your foot. You should place some padding, like a bandage or gauze, around your fifth metatarsal bone to prevent any further damage while it’s healing. Applying an ACE wrap is one way to do this on your own.
Your doctor might recommend that you wear a walking boot for comfort while you give the fracture time to heal on its own. They may also prescribe physical therapy rehab exercises like balancing on the injured side off the ground with one leg straight in front of the other or leaning against a wall for balance while you extend your foot. Physical therapy can help to improve the strength and flexibility of your injured leg while it heals.
If non-surgical treatment fails, you might need surgery to repair the broken pieces of bone in your fifth metatarsal or fuse them with wire or pins. You may also require surgical repair if there is too much damage for the fracture to heal on its own by putting pressure on surrounding tissues. If an open wound has developed because part of the bone pierced through your skin, then you’ll likely need surgery to close that wound before it heals.
The most common method used for surgical fixation is called “pinning.” A small metal rod is placed into the center of the broken bone and held together with wires or pins during this process. If your doctor decides to fuse the fracture instead of pin it, then an incision might be made in the front of your foot or across the top of your fifth metatarsal to make sure that they heal in the proper position while producing a stronger bone.
Suppose you had surgery for this type of injury. In that case, you might need anywhere from three months to several years before returning to regular physical activity, depending on how severe it was. You’ll likely wear a boot for six weeks after surgery while your toe is still numb. Once the feeling comes back into your foot, you’ll need another six weeks before walking without pain. Physical therapy can help you regain strength and range of motion in your foot so you can walk normally again.
There’s no surefire way to prevent a Jones fracture from happening, but wearing the proper footwear and being aware of your surroundings before stepping down hard onto the ground is one good way to prevent it from happening.
It may be possible that changing certain aspects of your lifestyle could help reduce the risk of suffering a Jones fracture as well. For example, adding more weight-bearing exercise into your routine may strengthen bones and make them less likely to break if you become injured. If you have a sedentary job or stay seated most of the day, stand up and move around periodically throughout the workday or find ways to increase how much activity you get every day by trying something new like yoga or dancing.
An alternative for this would be to list all of the services NY Country Foot Care provides and how they can help treat a Jones fracture.
Country Foot Care, located on Long Island, NY is a physical therapy clinic specializing in foot and ankle care for patients of all ages, including those who have suffered from a Jones fracture. If you’ve been diagnosed with a fifth metatarsal bone fracture and want to know more about the treatment options available, contact us at (516) 741-3338 or to request an appointment online, simply fill out our online form.
In Summary, Jones fractures are a common injury in sports where there is a lot of running and jumping involved. To prevent this from happening, wear proper footwear and get into the habit of wearing ankle braces for support when participating in these activities, especially if you have been diagnosed with a high-arched or flat foot. If the pain becomes too severe, seek immediate medical attention to avoid further complications.