Acute metatarsal fracture
Metatarsal fractures can be stress fractures that occur from overuse (repetitive stress) or an acute break that occurs when forces exceed the capacity of the bone such as a crush injury when you drop something on your foot.
Causes of metatarsal fracture
Metatarsals are five long bones in the foot just before the toes start. A fracture in this area can be acute or a repetitive stress related fracture from constant forces as those experienced during prolonged running. Overuse is the cause of the stress fracture, while the acute fracture is caused by direct impact or pressure to the foot. Acute metatarsal fracture can occur from something falling on the foot, the foot being trodden on or injured during contact sport. Another cause can be rapid twisting when the foot is stuck on the ground.
Symptoms of metatarsal fracture
An acute metatarsal fracture will involve foot pain at the time of the injury. Swelling, a visible deformity and bruising will usually develop within the 24 hours after the injury. Often the person will not be able to weight bear. It is very obvious when this occurs. People will typically know when they have broken a metatarsal bone in the foot.
Treatment of metatarsal fracture
As soon as the injury occurs, we recommend you visit a chiropractor or physiotherapist to confirm what the problem is. If the metatarsal fracture is not clinically obvious, one of our Sydney chiropractors or physiotherapists will send you for an x-ray to confirm the fracture.
In the first three weeks of the injury, a boot will be fitted. After six weeks another x-ray will be performed to ensure the injury has healed.
For cases where the bones are displaced or the fracture is more severe, surgery may be recommended.It is important to seek a surgical opinion as complications can occur. If surgery is recommended and performed, a cast will be worn with non-weight bearing immobilisation for 6 – 8 weeks and a thorough rehabilitation program at the guidance of one of our chiropractors or physiotherapists at Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C).