Broken Fifth Metatarsal

Pain, Swelling and Bruising along the Outer Foot Edge

What could be my problem?

The fifth metatarsal is the long bone on the outside of the foot.  Most commonly the fifth metatarsal fractures through the base of the bone.

What causes a Broken Fifth Metatarsal?

  • A break in the fifth metatarsal usually occurs from an injury where the foot and ankle are twisted downward and inward.  The tendon that attaches to the base of the fifth metatarsal may stretch and pull a fragment of bone away from the base.  Since the fragment is pulled away from the rest of the bone, this type of injury is called an “avulsion fracture”.
  • Another type of fifth metatarsal fracture is a horizontal or transverse fracture through the junction of the base and shaft of the bone.  This is sometimes called a “Jones Fracture”. Since the blood supply to this area is poor, Jones Fractures are more prone to difficulty in healing.

When to see a foot pain specialist about a Broken Fifth Metatarsal:

  • Pain, swelling and bruising along the outer foot edge after an injury.  If you think you may have broken a bone you need to see a foot specialist and have an x-ray

What are my treatment options for my foot pain?

Non-Surgical Options for a Broken Fifth Metatarsal:

  •   Rest
  •   Cold Therapy
  •   Walking boot   

Surgery for a Broken Fifth Metatarsal:

Surgical treatment options for a break in the fifth metatarsal maybe recommended by your foot and ankle specialist if you have one of the following types of fractures:

  • Avulsion Fracture
    If an Avulsion Fracture results in a large displaced fracture fragment open reduction and internal fixation with plates and screws may be necessary.
  • Jones Fracture

    Because of its location on the bone, a Jones Fracture may take longer to heal. In some cases, a Jones Fracture may not heal at all, a condition called “nonunion.” When this happens surgery is often required to treat the fracture similar to Avulsion Fracture surgery.