Metatarsal fractures are a common foot injury and are usually the result of a traumatic mechanism of injury eg direct force or crush injury.
Metatarsals are the long bones that run the length of the foot to the base of the toes (phalanges). There are 5 metatarsals in the foot.
The metatarsals can be injured/fractured at the base, shaft, neck or head. The 5th metatarsal (little toe side of the foot) is most commonly injured in adults. Click here to read more specifics on 5th metatarsal fractures. The 1st metatarsal is most commonly injured in children under 4 years of age.
Prognosis for Metatarsal Fracture
The good news is the majority of metatarsal fractures are isolated, stable and are able to be managed conservatively. These fractures do well with conservative management.
The metatarsal fracture pattern relates to the mechanism of injury and is similar to that of a long bone and may be oblique, spiral, transverse or comminuted. These patterns can result in angulation, rotation or shortening of the metatarsal which can lead to the altered shape/appearance of foot. In most cases these changes do not affect foot function.
There are some fractures which are indicated for surgery and they include open, displaced and multiple fractures. Xrays are the best initial scan to view metatarsal fractures.
Treatment for Metatarsal Fracture
The key to getting a good result and returning to full function is early management. Activate Physiotherapy offer same day appointments to attend their fracture clinic to ensure your fracture is managed with the best management from the start. Following your Xray our Physiotherapists will fit you into a moon boot/walker.
Depending on your fracture and your pain you may be required to use crutches as well and not weight bear for a period of time.
Most metatarsals will require immobilisation for between 4-8 weeks. It is important to note radiographic evidence of healing can take months.
Common return to running time is around 3 months.
Our approach is unique and our physiotherapists understand the importance of integrating your rehab during the healing process and will assist you with a rehabilitation program at the various stages of your healing journey. This reduces the complications that often occur from foot fractures.
How to Make a Fracture Clinic Appointment
No Xray? No problem!
We can arrange bulk-billed xrays to confirm diagnosis and monitor healing.
Need your cast removed?
We can help with that too! We are able to remove backslabs and full plaster or polyester casts