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What is a Fifth Metatarsal Fracture?
Fractures (breaks) are common in the fifth metatarsal – the long bone on the outside of the foot that connects to the little toe. Two types of fractures that often occur in the fifth metatarsal are:
Other types of fractures can occur in the fifth metatarsal. Examples include mid-shaft fractures, which usually result from trauma or twisting, and fractures of the metatarsal head and neck.
Avulsion and Jones fractures have the same signs and symptoms. These include:
Anyone who has symptoms of a fifth metatarsal fracture should see a foot and ankle surgeon as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment. To arrive at a diagnosis, the surgeon will ask how the injury occurred or when the pain started. The foot will be examined, with the doctor gently pressing on different areas of the foot to determine where there is pain.
The surgeon will also order x-rays. Because a Jones fracture sometimes does not show up on initial x-rays, additional imaging studies may be needed.
Until you are able to see a foot and ankle surgeon, the “R.I.C.E.” method of care should be performed:
The foot and ankle surgeon may use one of these non-surgical options for treatment of a fifth metatarsal fracture:
When is Surgery Needed?
If the injury involves a displaced bone, multiple breaks, or has failed to adequately heal, surgery may be required. The foot and ankle surgeon will determine the type of procedure that is best suited to the individual patient.