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Jones Fracture

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Updated December 12, 2006

Definition: A Jones fracture is an injury to the fifth metatarsal bone of the foot. The fifth metatarsal bone is at the base of the small toe, and the Jones fracture occurs in the midfoot area (the top of the bone).

Why is this called a "Jones Fracture"?
This injury was first described in 1902 by Sir Robert Jones in an article titled "Fractures of the Base of the First Metatarsal Bone by Indirect Violence." He included descriptions of six patients (one being himself) who sustained fractures in this area without a direct impact (his injury occurred while dancing). This article included fractures we now classify as avulsion fractures, stress fractures, and what we presently refer to as a Jones fracture.

What are the symptoms of a Jones fracture?
Patients who sustain a Jones fracture have pain over this middle/outside area of their foot, swelling, and difficulty walking. Most often a Jones fracture is caused without significant injury or impact.

What is the treatment of a Jones fracture?
Treatment of an acute Jones fracture consists of immoblization with a cast. Patients should not place weight on the foot until instructed by their doctor. Crutches will be used for the initial healing phase.

Jones fractures can become chronic conditions if the fracture fails to unite, or heal. If this is the case, surgery will likely be recommended to secure the fracture in place with a screw, and bone graft may be used to stimuate a healing response.

Is surgery ever used as an initial treatment for a Jones fracture?
Yes. In some patients, especially competitive athletes, surgery may be recommended to try to avoid the lengthy healing period for a Jones fracture to heal. Surgery has associated risks that must be weighed against the need for timely healing. Talk to your doctor if you think surgery may be needed in your situation.

Also Known As: 5th Metatarsal Fracture
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