Our patients come to see us here at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists to receive effective treatment for a host of lower limb injuries, including broken foot bones. Given the numerous bones found in the lower limbs, there are many possible fractures that can be sustained. Jones fractures are fairly common ones that happen in a particular location in the foot.
Fifth Metatarsal Fracture
Fractures (breaks) happen often in the fifth metatarsal, which is the lengthy bone that connects to the little toe and is found on the outer edge of the foot. There are two types of fractures that frequently occur in the fifth metatarsal:
- Avulsion fracture. In this type of fracture, a tiny piece of bone has been ripped off the main part by a ligament or tendon, usually as the result of a foot injury where the ankle rolls. When the occur with an ankle sprain, these fractures are frequently overlooked (which illustrates the importance of coming to see us when you sprain an ankle).
- Jones fracture. Jones fractures happen in a particular area of the fifth metatarsal that is somewhat weakened and subject to difficulties in healing because it receives less blood. A Jones fracture can either be in response to an acute (sudden) injury or develop as a hairline crack over time (stress fracture). This injury is usually the result of physical trauma, overuse, or repetitive stress.
Jones Fracture Symptoms
Jones and avulsion fractures actually have similar signs and symptoms, which include:
- Swelling, tenderness, and pain on the outside of the foot.
- Difficulty walking.
- Bruising or discoloration in the area.
When you recognize the symptoms of a fifth metatarsal fracture, you should see our foot doctors as soon as possible for expert diagnosis and effective treatment. To arrive at a diagnosis, we will ask you how the injury happened and when you started experiencing the pain. Your foot will be carefully examined, with our doctor gently pressing on different areas of the foot to determine the range and extent of the pain.
We will also order X-rays. Sometimes, Jones fractures do not show up on initial X-rays, so we may order additional imaging studies.
Until you are able to see us here at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, perform the “R.I.C.E.” method of care:
- Rest: Keep body weight off the injured foot. Walking can cause further injury and should be avoided without crutches.
- Ice: Apply ice or an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel (to protect your skin) to the injured area. Keep ice on it for 20 minutes and then wait at least 40 minutes before applying ice again.
- Compression: An elastic wrap or ace bandage should be used to control swelling. Be careful not to wrap it too tightly, though.
- Elevation: Keep the foot raised slightly above heart-level of your heart to minimize swelling. Propping it up on a couple of pillows works especially well.
Once you come to our Austin, TX office, we may use one of the following nonsurgical options for treatment of a Jones fracture:
- Immobilization. Depending on the severity of your injury, the foot will be kept immobile with a cast, boot, or stiff-soled shoe. Crutches may also be provided to avoid placing weight on the injured foot.
- Bone stimulation. A pain-free external device might be used to promote the healing processes of some fractures. Bone stimulation, most commonly used for Jones fractures, may be used as part of the treatment or following an inadequate response to immobilization.
When the injury involves multiple breaks, a displaced bone, or has failed to adequately heal, surgery may be recommended. Dr. Craig H. Thomajan DPM, FACFAS or Dr. Shine John, DPM, FACFAS will determine the type of procedure that is best suited for you.
Bone Fracture Treatment in Austin, TX
We provide conservative and surgical treatment options for Jones fractures here at our Austin, TX podiatrist office, but Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists offers so much more. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you. Give us a call at (512) 328-8900 or take advantage of our online form to schedule your appointment with us.