Understanding Metatarsal Fractures

Metatarsal fractures are, unfortunately, more common than you’d think – and they are among the most debilitating since you need the metatarsals to do pretty much anything with your foot. 

The metatarsals are the long bones in the foot connecting the ankle to the toes and breaks in these bones may occur from sudden trauma or overuse. They could be either hairline fractures or complete breaks where the broken ends of the bones separate entirely.

The most frequently injured metatarsal is the fifth, or the long bone connecting to the little toe. This injury is particularly common amongst dancers. A fracture of the third metatarsal, meanwhile, is usually accompanied by a fracture in the adjacent second or fourth metatarsals as well. If you’re putting enough stress on the middle of your foot to end up injuring it, chances are its neighboring bones are being stressed as well.

Symptoms of a metatarsal fracture include pain at the site of the fracture, inability to put weight on the affected foot, swelling and bruising, and a cracking/popping sound at the time of injury.

Metatarsal fractures are common in the fifth metatarsal. | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia
A fracture in the fifth metatarsal bone

What causes Metatarsal Fractures?

Metatarsal fractures are a more serious version of metatarsal stress fractures, and share similar causes.

  • Overuse or repetitive stress
  • Direct trauma
  • Foot deformities e.g flat feet

Best Metatarsal Fractures Treatment

Like any other fracture, movement has to be minimized while the bone heals back into place and needs you to wear a cast or specialized boot to help offload pressure off the area whenever you walk. Healing usually takes about six to eight weeks.

In addition to putting your foot in a cast, recent advances in medical technology have introduced new ways to manage fractures other than surgery. Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound can help to promote healing, especially in the case of minor fractures which do not require surgical intervention. 

In any case however, even if you have recovered from a fracture before, it is likely that side effects may follow from it. For instance, your body may end up putting more stress on the plantar than before, which can increase the likelihood of problems cropping up with the bottom of your foot later in life. If you encounter any issues with your feet, related to your metatarsals or not, do not hesitate to book a consultation with us!

Written by Mark B. Reyneker
Written by Mark B. Reyneker

Based in Singapore, 20 years of clinical experience. Practiced in South Africa, Malaysia, and Singapore. Pioneered CAD/CAM custom-made orthotics in S.E Asia.

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