What Are the Treatments for Metatarsal Bone Fractures?

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Metatarsal bones are the long bones in the foot that connect the ankle bones to the toe bones. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, treatments for metatarsal bone fractures depend on the type and extent of the fracture.

Types of Fractures

  • A stress fracture is a tiny, hairline break, usually caused by repetitive stress. Traumatic fractures, caused by a direct impact, can be displaced or nondisplaced. In a displaced fracture, the broken bone has changed position (dislocated).

Rest

  • Sometimes the only treatment needed for a metatarsal bone fracture to heal is rest. For stress fractures, it is important to avoid the activity that led to the fracture. Sometimes crutches or a wheelchair are needed to take weight off the foot until it heals.

Immobilization

  • To protect the fractured bone while it is healing, sometimes your doctor may recommend a cast, stiff-soled shoe or other form of immobilization.

Surgery

  • Some traumatic fractures of the metatarsal bones require surgery, especially if the break is badly displaced.

Physical Therapy

  • Regaining normal use of your foot and returning to your usual activities may require physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises.

Considerations

  • Sometimes a fracture of the metatarsal bone behind the big toe can lead to arthritis, if not properly treated and allowed to heal. Another type of break that occurs at the base of the metatarsal bone behind the little toe is called a Jones fracture. These fractures are hard to heal, requiring non-weight bearing for a long period of time or surgery.

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