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Fifth Metatarsal Fractures

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Updated December 07, 2006

Definition: The fifth metatarsal is the bone that runs from the midfoot to the base of small toe. The proximal end of the fifth metatarsal is easily felt as the bump over the outside part of the midfoot. This part of the bone is prone to injury.

Three primary types of fractures occur here, and all have different treatment implications. Like all other medical issues, not every fracture will fall perfectly into one of these three fracture types, but these categories are useful for treatment guidance.

  • Avulsion Fractures:
    Avulsion fratures when the tip of the bone is pulled off the fifth metatarsal by the tendon that attaches to this region. These fractures tend to heal easily in a cast, and seldom require surgical treatment.

  • Jones Fractures:
    Jones fractures occur just beyond the avulsion fractures. These fractures are more difficult to heal, and often require immobilization, prtection from weight (crutches), and they may require a surgery.

  • Stress Fractures:
    Stress fractures of the fifth metatarsal are the hardest to heal, and may require surgery. These fractures often start with vague pain on the outside of the foot, often thought to be tendonitis. Over time, the stress fracture can become a complete break.

References:

Also Known As: Jones Fracture, Avulsion Fracture, Dancer's Fracture, Metatarsal Stress Fracture
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