Q:

How do you treat a broken fifth metatarsal?

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Quick Answer

A broken fifth metatarsal can receive non-surgical or surgical treatment depending on the type of fracture, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Non-surgical treatments include placing the foot in a special boot or cast or in a shoe with stiff soles. Stimulation of the bone is another option.

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Full Answer

Doctors use bone stimulation when the metatarsal bone has received a Jones fracture, claims the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. This kind of fracture happens in an area of the metatarsal bone with a poor blood supply. This makes a break more difficult to heal, and the bone remains at risk for breaking again. Physicians also stimulate the bone when immobilizing the foot hasn't worked.

If the broken fifth metatarsal needs surgery, the surgeon can repair the fracture with a screw while an X-ray machine guides him, says the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. To strengthen the area, the surgeon may also place a bone graft over the fracture. If the bone is shattered, the surgeon may remove part of it altogether or use a plate to fix it.

It may take as long as four months for a patient who undergoes surgery on his fifth metatarsal bone to resume his normal activities, says the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. If the bone has a graft, it takes longer than this.

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