Metatarsal Fracture | Forefoot Fracture

Your forefoot functions as both a springboard and a cushion when you are walking.  The metatarsal bones located in the forefoot are used to shift your body weight to help you maintain balance.  Things like jumping, twisting, dancing, and running add even more stress on the forefoot, making the bones vulnerable to fracture from trauma and overuse.  The majority of metatarsal fractures can be healed with non-surgical treatment.  Fractures that require surgery have highly successful outcomes.


Your forefoot (metatarsus) contains five long bones called the metatarsals. The metatarsal bones help raise and lower or twist your foot.  They play a role in distributing your body weight over the whole of the foot and maintaining balance when you walk or stand.

Certain parts of the metatarsals receive more blood than others. The less blood supply to an area, the longer it takes a fracture in that area to heal.  For example, a Jones Fracture is just such a fracture near the base of the fifth metatarsal. This type of fracture typically requires surgery.

Metatarsal Fracture Causes

Metatarsal fractures are caused by stress from overuse, improper training, ankle twisting, or any other kind of trauma.  Stress fractures in the metatarsals are common in soccer players, ballet dancers, and military recruits.

Metatarsal Fracture Symptoms

A metatarsal fracture can cause pain, swelling, discoloration, and difficulty walking.  When the metatarsal bones crack or break, they may remain in place or move out of position.

Metatarsal Fracture Diagnosis

An examination and a review of your medical history are used to diagnose a metatarsal fracture. X-rays can be used to determine the extent and exact location of the injury.

Metatarsal Fracture Treatment

Most metatarsal fractures are treated without surgery. You may need a walking cast or rigid, orthopedic shoes to stabilize the area.  Some people may need to wear a cast and not put weight on their foot for several weeks while the fracture heals.

Metatarsal Fracture Surgery

Significant metatarsal fractures with low blood supply or bones that have been displaced may require surgery.  Surgical hardware, such as a plate and screws are used to secure the bones in place. You may be required to wear a short leg cast, brace, or rigid shoe for 6 to 8 weeks while the bones heal.  Your doctor will check the healing process with X-rays and allow you to put more weight on your foot as the fracture heals. 

Metatarsal Fracture Recovery

Recovery is individualized and depends on the exact location and extent of your injury, as well as the treatment that you received.  Your doctor will let you know what to expect. Overall, metatarsal surgery has a high degree of success.

At SPORT, we will identify the source of your pain and then utilize state-of-the-art therapeutic techniques that focus on restoring your range of motion.

Depending on the specific condition and its severity, these treatment options may include physical therapy, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, slings and supports, cortisone shots, or surgery.

If you have an acute or chronic foot or ankle injury that needs medical attention, call SPORT at (469) 200-2832 to arrange a consultation or you can request one online. Hurt today? We can arrange a same-day urgent care visit to ensure you get fast, effective relief.


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